UK bill allows citizenship to be removed without warning

UK bill allows British citizenship to be removed without warning
2 min read
18 November, 2021
The quietly updated bill makes the government exempt from notifying citizens due to be deprived of their British citizenship when it is 'not reasonably practical' to do so.
Powers to remove citizenship from British nationals have been extended through legislation since the 9/11 attacks in 2001 [Getty]

British citizens could have their citizenship removed without warning following a new clause added to the Nationality and Borders Bill, which was quietly updated earlier this month.

The updated bill makes the government exempt from giving Britons notice of any citizenship removal under various circumstances, including in cases when it is not "reasonably practical" to do so, as illustrated in its ninth clause.

The bill, which some critics believe signifies a growing draconian tendency within the British government, also allows for no notice to be given "in the interests of national security" or "public interest" where applicable.

"Notice to be given to a person to be deprived of citizenship... does not apply if it appears to the Secretary of State that... it would... not be reasonably practicable," the bill states.

"This amendment sends the message that certain citizens, despite being born and brought up in the UK... remain migrants in this country," Frances Webber, vice-chair of the Institute of Race Relations, said to The Guardian.

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"It builds on previous measures to strip British-born dual nationals of citizenship... measures used mainly against British Muslims," Webber continued.

Powers to remove citizenship from British nationals, particularly for security reasons, have been extended through legislation since the 9/11 attacks in 2001.

It was under such powers that the Home Office removed the citizenship of Shamima Begum, a British woman who travelled to Syria as a teenager to marry an Islamic State group fighter.

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) recently condemned the government's plans to make other changes to the Nationality and Borders bill, including creating a "temporary protection status" for refugees, which would only offer refugees some of their rights under the 1951 Convention.

The UNHCR said such plans would be in violation of international law.