British Citizenship for Stateless Children Born in the UK
British Citizenship may be granted to UK-Born Stateless person, the person can apply to register as a British Citizen if they meet all requirement. At A Y & J Solicitors, our immigration lawyers have a wealth of experience in advising and helping stateless people, including stateless children born in the UK.
Being stateless is a precarious position to be in. Stateless people are not protected by any country. They are entitled to no healthcare or benefits, no foreign embassy will provide them with protection in times of strife, and they cannot travel between countries as they have no passport. Stateless people are incredibly vulnerable and can be doomed to a life of poverty, ill-health and long-term immigration detention.
The recent High Court decision of MK (India) Statelessness EWHC  1365 (Admin) ruled that a six-year-old Indian girl who was born in the UK was stateless and therefore entitled to British Citizenship. This case has opened the door for potentially thousands of children in the same position to be registered as a British Citizen. Our team can help assisting parents and children who may be entitled to British Citizenship due to their statelessness, providing them with an opportunity for a safe, prosperous future in the UK.
What is Statelessness?
The international legal definition of a stateless person is “a person who is not considered as a national by any State under the operation of its law”.
Statelessness is recognised under international law and noted for the devastating effects it has on a person’s life. Without a country, people find themselves bounced from place to place, with no government willing to take responsibility. Without the right to remain in a particular nation, healthcare, education, housing, and the protection of the law are all near impossibilities.
Today, at least 10 million people around the world are denied a nationality.
How Does a Person Become Stateless?
According to the United Nations Refugee Agency, the following are the main causes of statelessness:
- Gaps in nationality laws – this often occurs in countries beset by conflict and war. Often the nationality laws of such countries are unclear, and children of unknown parentage in a country where nationality is acquired based on descent from a national may be left stateless.
- Children moving from the country from which they were born – a child born in a foreign country can risk becoming stateless if that country does not permit nationality based on birth alone and if the country of origin does not allow a parent to pass on nationality through family ties.
- The emergence of new states and borders – if a particular ethnic group is excluded from the new nation or forced out of the country’s new borders, they can become stateless. In such cases, statelessness can be passed on to the children of the affected people or group.
- A country deprives a person or a group of people of their nationality.
What Are the International Laws Governing Statelessness?
The two main international conventions governing statelessness are:
- The 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons
- The 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness
The UK is a signatory to both these conventions.
In relation to stateless children, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (of which the UK is also a signatory) states:
“1. The child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have the right from birth to a name, the right to acquire a nationality and as far as possible, the right to know and be cared for by his or her parents.
2. States Parties shall ensure the implementation of these rights in accordance with their national law and their obligations under the relevant international instruments in this field, in particular where the child would otherwise be stateless”.
Our immigration lawyers are known for best client service and have an in-depth understanding of Britain’s obligations under these international conventions. We are committed to help so people who are rendered stateless, especially children, are provided British nationality if they meet the eligibility requirements.
What Are the Laws in the UK Which Govern Nationality?
The British Nationality Act 1981 governs nationality in the UK. Under Schedule 2 of the Act, a person who is stateless can be registered as a British Citizen if they:
- were born in the UK,
- have always been stateless,
- were under the age of 22 on the date of the application,
- have lived in the UK for the five years prior to the making of the application
Our lawyers will analyse your circumstances and provide honest legal advice on your eligibility requirements.
What is the Significance of MK (India) Statelessness in Relation to Stateless Children?
In the case of MK (India), the child’s parents were overstayers in the UK when MK was born in Britain. His parents tried to register him as a British citizen, but the Home Office refused the application.
In a Judicial Review challenge to the Home Office’s decision, the court examined Indian law surrounding nationality and declared the child stateless and therefore, Schedule 2 of the British Nationality Act 1981 applied. The judge also held the fact the child could apply for Indian citizenship was irrelevant.
How A Y & J Solicitors Can Assist with Applications for British Citizenship for Stateless Children Born in the UK
Our multi-lingual team of expert lawyers can assist parents and children who believe they are entitled to British citizenship following the decision in MK (India). It is advisable that you make the application for British Citizenship as quickly as possible under this route if you are eligible.
No, the decision may apply to any child who qualifies under Schedule 2.
Yes, as the parents of a child who is granted British citizenship may be able to apply for leave to remain on Article 8 grounds. Alternatively, they may have derivative rights to remain in the UK under the Zambrano principle. It is advisable that you talk to lawyers to establish the immigration rights of your entire family.
Success Story on British Citizenship for Stateless Child
Stateless Child is Registered as British Citizen with Help from A Y & J Solicitors
Mr. S approached us to assist with regularising the status of his family. He and his wife had entered the United Kingdom as students from India over 13 years ago. Nine years ago, they were blessed with a healthy son. Mr. S spent a lot of time and money seeking advice on how to regularise…
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