BY PAUL TURNER – SENIOR PARTNER
LEGAL 500 Recognised Leading Individual
I continue to represent clients who in my opinion receive poor advice due to a lack of understanding of the benefit of nationality law. Families on the 10-year settlement route obtain extensions of leave for 30 months at a time. That means that every 2.5 years application fees need to be paid to the Home Office of £1033 and NHS surcharge fees of £1000 per person. Potentially 4 applications have to be made before obtaining permanent status.
In a number of cases, I have been advising that children in the family do not need to apply for extensions of limited leave to remain where they qualify for British nationality by registration.
I have seen advisors missing the fact that when a child born in the UK has accumulated 10 years continuous residence that the child is entitled to registration as British. Where this has been missed, parents have been paying unnecessary Home Office fees. I have also seen children who are entitled to British nationality, not making the applications before their 18th birthday. This is unacceptable, as the young person will be delayed applying for nationality by naturalisation until after they obtain permanent status, and this causes significant prejudice. For example, the young person will experience higher fees to pay to secure higher education and may have difficulty securing student finance.
Advisors are also failing to recognise that children can be successful in applying for British nationality by registration, at discretion. I have represented in excess of 10 children recently who are living in the UK with parents who do not have permanent status/indefinite leave, but they are older teenagers who have spent the majority of their lives in the UK. Although the Home Office policy guidance states that children will not normally be registered by discretion, where a parent does not have permanent settled status (ILR), I have been successful in arguing that this is not a key factor. The most important factor established and confirmed by the courts is where the child’s future lies and the child’s best interests.
Where the Home Office have refused to grant the older teenager, who has spent the most of his life in the UK, I have been successful by submitting requests for reconsideration and then if necessary, judicial review proceedings. All of the older teenagers I have represented have been successfully granted registration as British, so far. I have numerous examples of successful cases to submit to the Home Office to request that there is consistency in the decision-making process.
In one case of an older teenager child born outside the UK, neither of the parents had any status in the UK. They were overstayers. After securing their son British Nationality, I secured leave to remain for the parents. The family are now leading a normal life.
It is imperative that children apply to be registered as British nationals where possible. I have extensive experience with these cases and I can be emailed at paul.turner@bhdsolicitors if you want to arrange a consultation or you can contact me via the blue contact us boxes above.
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