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10 I LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS Passion Islam I February 2009
Government’s new bill shakes
up the route to citizenship
A bill to make newcomers to the UK
earn the right to stay here, strengthen
the border, and ensure we have a
firm but fair immigration system was
published in Parliament.
The Borders, Citizenship and
Immigration Bill will lay down a radical
new approach to British citizenship
that will require all migrants to speak
English and obey the law if they want to
gain citizenship and stay permanently
in Britain - while speeding up the path
to citizenship for those who contribute
to the community by being active
Under the new system, full access
to benefits and social housing will be
reserved for citizens and permanent make a positive impact on their local via the land border in Northern Ireland
residents - which means if you are not community will be able to stay in the and those arriving from the Crown
a citizen full access to benefits will not UK.” dependencies.
be allowed. The Bill will strengthen Britain’s The Home Office has made it clear
Foreign nationals who commit security by giving frontline staff of the that there are no plans to introduce
serious offences already face UK Border Agency combined customs fixed controls on the land border
automatic consideration for deportation and immigration powers, making it between the Republic of Ireland and
- our earned citizenship proposals go easier than ever to crack down on Northern Ireland or on routes from the
further. Anyone sent to prison will face illegal immigration and the smuggling Crown dependencies to the UK.
removal, and even those committing of drugs and weapons. The Borders, Citizenship and
minor offences will normally need The UK’s border will be further Immigration Bill will also ensure a
to wait until their conviction is spent strengthened by enabling routine firm and fair immigration system by
before they can become citizens. border controls on air and sea routes introducing a duty on the UK Border
These measures will work for people travelling between the Agency to safeguard the welfare of
alongside the powerful new points- Republic of Ireland and the United children in its work; new rules to give
based system to ensure that only Kingdom. automatic British nationality to a child
those people the country needs The power to control people born in the UK where at least one
can come - and stay - here. This travelling within the Common Travel parent is a foreign or Commonwealth
system will allow the Government to Area (CTA) will ensure that the UKBA member of the British armed forces;
manage immigration which in turn will has the tools it needs to protect the and a remedy to fix the current
help contribute to future population border and will pave the way for the situation whereby a father could pass
projections and control. high-tech e-Borders programme - to on his British nationality to a child born
Border and Immigration Minister check travellers against watch-lists - abroad before 1961 while a mother
Phil Woolas said: “We are clear that on air and sea routes between the UK could not.
newcomers should speak English, and the Republic of Ireland. These changes are part of the
work hard, and earn the right to stay These new measures mean biggest shake-up to the immigration
here - and only get British citizenship that the UK Border Agency will be system for a generation, along with
once they have proved their able to request identification for the new Australian-style points-
commitment to the country. passengers travelling by air and sea based system, a high-tech system
“Migration only works if it brings between Britain and the Republic of for counting people in and out of the
benefits, and these measures will Ireland; and conduct intelligence-led country and the introduction of ID
ensure that only those migrants that operations to check those entering cards for foreign nationals.
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