Legal challenge to UK Government charging £1,000 for British-born children to register legal right for citizenship
Amnesty International has denounced the UK Government’s policy on British-born children be required to register their legal right to citizenship in the UK.
Amnesty described the policy as ‘profiteering’ and an ‘outrage’ as a hearing into the policy began at the High Court at the Royal Courts of Justice today.
When Parliament first gave children the right to register as British citizens in 1983, the fee was £35. That figure now stands at £973 – an amount that is effectively preventing hundreds of children from claiming their legal right.
Only £386 of the £973 is the administrative cost, the rest – £587 – is profit for the Home Office.
The landmark hearing, being brought by Project for the Registration of Children as British Citizen (PRCBC), will also address the legality of whether the Home Office can refuse to offer a fee waiver or fee reduction to a child who cannot afford the fee.
If a child does not have citizenship they can be denied free healthcare, the right to work, be barred from renting accommodation, and prevented from applying for loans for higher education.
Speaking outside the court, Steve Valdez-Symonds, Amnesty International UK’s Refugees and Migrants Rights Programme Director, said:
“It is an outrage that children who were born in this country are being charged an exorbitant sum of money to register their legal right to British citizenship.
“The fee is nothing more than a tax - denying thousands of children from low-income backgrounds the right to the same opportunities and identity as their friends.
“This landmark case must change this. The government should not be profiting from children.
“Children’s rights are not for sale.”
The final ruling is expected in the New Year.
The start of the hearing was marked with a demonstration outside the High Court by members of Amnesty Children’s Human Rights Network, PRCBC, The Let Us Learn campaign and the Migrant Resource Centre.