Select Committee on Home Affairs Written Evidence

41.  Memorandum submitted by Kamal K Vohora


  This is a submission on behalf of some British Overseas Citizens resident in East Africa. Purpose of this submission is to draw the Committee's attention to those aspects of the Government Policy in the area of Immigration Control that has an unfair and adverse effect on some few remaining British Overseas Citizens.


  In March 2002 Government decided to abolish the special voucher scheme, which had a special provision for British Overseas Citizens who were, under certain conditions, entitled to apply for and obtain settlement visas to live in the UK.

  Subsequent to the abolishment of the special voucher scheme Parliament, by means of an amendment, introduced a special provision in the British Nationality Act 1981 under which British Overseas Citizens could under certain conditions apply to register as British Citizens and hence acquire permanent right of abode in the UK.


  Under the new section 4B of the 1981 Act most British Overseas Citizens resident in East Africa are now eligible to become full British Citizens. However, because of the special conditions of Section 4B of the British Nationality Act 1981 some BOC's (estimated to be less then 20) who were born in Kenya between 5 July 1979 and 31 December 1982 were caught out by the condition that they must not have lost by inaction (knowingly or, as is mostly the case, otherwise) any other Nationality and hence do not qualify to register as British Citizens. These remaining BOCs now find themselves in a limbo for not having a permanent right of residence in any country and do not have any express entitlement to obtain settlement visas under any provisions of the existing Immigration Rules.


  In view of the fact that there are very few remaining British Overseas Citizens still in a position of a "limbo" and in consideration of the fact that immigration to the UK from the EU and the Accession countries (possibly including even Turkey) far outweighs any effect on immigration numbers that abolition of immigration control of the remaining BOCs would have, it is submitted to the Committee:

    (1)  to recommend to the appropriate Authorities that plight of these venerable people be re-examined with a view of making policy changes in the ambit of Immigration controls which particularly have an adverse affect on some British Nationals.

    (2)  to recommend that in spirit of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 all information pertaining to the "Limbo Policy" as referred to but not disclosed in the Immigration Directorates Instructions and other Immigration control measures effecting British Nationals be placed in the public domain.

    (3)  to initiate action which will lead to amendment of section 4B of the British Nationality Act 1981 by deletion of word inaction in order to remove the anomaly of having British Nationals without right of residence in any country, even though this situation of "statelessness" arises as a result of failure to renounce their British Nationality to enable retention of their other Nationality if available. Retention of their British Nationality is of profound importance to many.

Kamal K Vohora

2 December 2005

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