uk raises the bar for those applying for citizenship to block ‘serious criminals’
Under the country’s stricter norms effective from Monday, British citizenship will be blocked to “serious criminals” irrespective of when or where the crime was committed, UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman said. She called it the “fair and right thing to do for our country.”
Under previous rules, some criminals – regardless of the type of crime – could gain British citizenship after around 15 years had passed since the end of their prison sentence. A four-year sentence used to be the threshold at which the application was likely to be refused.
Braverman Raises The Bar To Prevent Misuse Of Nationality System
Calling British citizenship “a privilege”, the Indian-origin minister said she was cracking down on the abuse of the country’s immigration and nationality system by introducing a tougher threshold for those applying to prevent serious criminals from gaining citizenship.
Those who commit crimes shouldn’t be allowed to enjoy the series of rights citizenship brings, including voting, holding a British passport and accessing free medical treatment at the NHS (National Health Service), Braverman stressed.
The latest crackdown involves tougher norms for any applicant who has received at least a 12-month prison sentence. The Home Office reaffirmed the government’s commitment to protecting the borders and ensuring no serious criminals can abuse Britain’s nationality system.
Some Exceptions Exist Though
The updated rules are more specific on “good character” requirements, which represent one of the key conditions to receive British citizenship, and look at whether an applicant has observed the country’s laws and shown respect for the rights of Britons.
There will be some exceptions, nevertheless – like if an applicant has mitigating circumstances that lessen the severity of a criminal offence. Cases like this could include someone who committed a minor crime a long time back but has made enough positive changes.