Revocation of British Citizenship

Danielle Cohen
By Danielle Cohen Immigration Law Solicitor Linkedin
Danielle Cohen has over 20 years of experience as a lawyer and a reputation for offering professional, honest and expert advice. 12 February 2016

The deprivation of citizenship i.e. the exclusion of perceived undesirables from the UK is one of the most important trends in immigration at the moment. The reality is there were apparently no recorded instances of citizenship deprivation on the basis of dishonesty between 1983 and 2009. Since 2009 however, there were 30 such decisions, and the numbers have steadily been increasing.

If a migrant has previously lied about his or her identity, or claim for asylum, then they can now expect to face great difficulties obtaining settlement. There are further hurdles still if they then wish to naturalise as a British citizen as our case study demonstrates.

The case of the Albanian

There are many examples of Albanians entering the UK and pretending to be Kosovan, obtaining immigration status and then eventually applying for British citizenship. Many have since settled down, landed full-time employment, and started a family.

We have been acting on behalf of an Albanian man, his wife and their two British-born children. The Albanian man claimed asylum after giving a false Kosovan identity and being recognised as a refugee. He was granted indefinite leave to remain in 2001. His wife was granted an entry clearance to join him in 2005. The husband was later naturalised as a British citizen and in April 2007 his wife made a successful application for indefinite leave to remain as the spouse of a British citizen.

However, in 2013 the man’s British citizenship was declared null and void. We thereafter made an application for the wife to be granted leave to remain, as she had a genuine and subsisting parental relationship with the two children, both of whom are under the age of 18 – and British citizens. Furthermore, we argued it would not be reasonable to expect the children to leave the UK for Albania as they were both born in the UK, are British citizens, have never lived in Albania and are highly integrated in the UK society and attend full time education here.

With regard to the husband he has encountered further difficulties with regard to being able to travel and work in the UK. Although his indefinite leave to remain was not revoked, when we requested that no time limit stamp be transferred to his Kosovan passport, the Home Office refused. They argued that they were not sure of the identity of our client. In other words they could not be certain that the Albanian man with one name was also the Kosovan man with a different name.

We have demonstrated through DNA testing that the Albanian man is the biological father of the children and we have provided supporting passport photographs and identity details from the Kosovan authorities. However, the Home Office has stated our client failed to provide legitimate reasons why his personal details have changed and as a result refused to issue him with a card confirming his true identity and nationality. In other words he is stuck; he cannot travel with his Kosovan passport because the letter granting him indefinite leave to remain belongs to an Albanian man with a different name, and despite coming clean, the Home Office will not revoke his indefinite leave to remain or give him a document in his true identity.

What lessons can be learned?

This is another reminder that British citizenship can be refused and revoked on the basis of past dishonesty. Deprivation of citizenship and the exclusion of perceived undesirables from our society, is a new trend and it is not always obvious that the deception is material to the grant of citizenship.

If a migrant has previously lied about his identity or claim for asylum he will now face great difficulty obtaining settlement and even greater hurdles naturalising as a British citizen.

The case continues…

If you’d like to know more about your rights, apply for citizenship or have had your British citizenship revoked, please contact Danielle here.