New figures obtained from the Home Office show that hundreds of British citizens have unlawfully had their citizenship nullified since 2013. A freedom of information request has revealed that there were 262 decisions to nullify British citizenship between 2007 and 2017, with 176 of these occurring in 2013 alone.
The Home Office can either nullify a person’s citizenship or deprive them of it. Nullification of citizenship has immediate and retrospective effect and can be used in more cases than deprivation. Nullification is far more difficult to challenge and has no right of appeal.
Deprivation cases generally involve national security issues or deception leading to the acquisition of citizenship. The procedure for the deprivation of citizenship is governed by the British Nationality Act 1981 and is strictly regulated.
Nullification of citizenship is an obscure common law declaration. The Home Office can nullify citizenship if it can be proved that the applicant impersonated another person in order to obtain British citizenship. The person who loses his/her citizenship is considered never to have been British. Therefore any family members, who have obtained their British citizenship through them, will lose their citizenship as well.
In the Supreme Court case of Hysaj  UKSC 82 the Home Office itself conceded that nearly all of the nullification decisions were unlawful. A team of civil servants from the Status Review Unit is now reviewing these historic decisions.
It is believe that most of the historic nullification cases are based on identity fraud, for example, providing an incorrect name, date of birth or other information at the time of the initial citizenship application. It remains unclear as to why the Home Office opted for the nullification procedure rather than the deprivation procedure in these cases.
Gherson has over 30 years of experience in assisting with various immigration matters. Should you wish to speak to a member of our team, please do not hesitate to contact us.
The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.