As reported recently by the BBC, immigration solicitors in London have recently learned that over 1,000 children entitled to British passports have had their applications for renewal refused – because of a Home Office error. Although the Home Office has set up what it describes as a ‘support function’ to identify those potentially affected, and to resolve any British Citizenship issues, this has left many affected – EU citizens – feeling like second class citizens, and not welcome in the UK. Since the Brexit vote, this is something that many of the top immigration solicitors in London are hearing from many of the EU citizens they work with.
Home Office failure leads to rejection of passport renewal applications
This particular situation dates back almost 10 years. Children of EU citizens born in the UK are automatically born a British citizen if one or other of the parents has residency when the child is born. For EU citizens, obtaining permanent Residency is a fairly straightforward process which can be completed after 5 years living in the UK. As British citizens, these children are then entitled to British passports.
In these cases, passports were initially granted to the children concerned. However, officials failed to check that the appropriate documentation was in place at the time. Many EU citizens from the ‘A8’ group of countries which joined the EU in 2004, including Poland and Czech Republic, have found that when it has come for these passports to be renewed, the Home Office has then asked for sight of those documents confirming residency – most commonly the Workers Registration Scheme certificate. In the absence of that documentation, the renewal application has been refused. However, for many, it has been impossible to locate the paperwork - and the Workers Registration Scheme is no longer in existence.
Nothing learned from Windrush
It seems that the UK government has failed to learn from the Windrush scandal that paperwork is not always available to evidence a right to be in the UK. Those affected have rightly reported as feeling unwelcome in the UK, as having been treated as second class citizens. In one reported case, the parent was able to produce the relevant documentation but still had the passport renewal application refused for his child – effectively denying him his British Citizenship. Against the climate of Brexit, this kind of error by the Home Office only adds to the feeling of unease that EU citizens in the UK are feeling.
If you or a family member are experiencing problems renewing a British passport and you would like to discuss the matter in confidence, please do get in touch by calling 0203 959 9123. OTS Solicitors are recommended in the Legal 500 for Immigration matters and we are experienced British Citizenship lawyers. We will advise you on your situation and help you take the next steps to resolve your issue.
For the best expert legal advice and outcome on your UK immigration application, contact OTS immigration solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.
We are one of the UK’s top firms for immigration solicitors and civil liberties lawyers. We can advise on a broad range of Immigration issues including Appeals and Refusals, Judicial Reviews, Spouse Visas, Student Visas, Work Permit Visas, Indefinite Leave to Remain, EEA Applications, Asylum and Human Rights, British Citizenship, All types of visas, Business Immigration Visas, Entrepreneur Visas and Investor Visas.
Our top immigration solicitors and lawyers are here to assist you.
Disclaimer: The information and comments on this page/site is made available free of charge and for educational and information purposes only. The information and comments do not amount to and are not intended to be adopted as legal advice to any individual or company. The use of this site should not be a substitute for specific legal advice, which we ask you to see our contact page or call our solicitors on 0203 959 9123.
By using this site you understand that there is no solicitor and client relationship between you/your company and the site owners or the firm. We make every effort to keep the published articles up-to-date and accurate, however the law changes very rapidly and the older the articles on this site, the more likely that the views in it have changed with the development of the law.
Posted on: Thursday, 13 September, 2018