Damning report for citizenship checks

A recent report has shown details of British citizenship being granted to convicted criminals when immigration officials missed key individual history checks, the BBC reports.

Chief Borders Inspector, John Vine, ran the report which involved looking over 179 applications and decisions for British citizenship. The report was a study of nationality casework and, for Mr Vine, raised serious concerns about the methods used and details overlooked by immigration officials when deciding upon granting citizenship.

According to the BBC, Mr Vine discovered that applicants’ criminal records from their home countres were not being checked. Despite the rest of the process for granting citizenship were being carried out correctly, this one huge oversight meant that in one case, an asylum seeker was wanted for murder, but immigration officials neglected to check their background.

In one particular case, British citizenship had been granted to an individual who had been here for 13 years illegally and who had even worked illegally during that time. Circumstances such as this, as well as the aforementioned case regarding the individual who was granted citizenship despite having fatally stabbed someone in his home country before coming to the UK, undermine our border security.

Furthermore, such cases contribute to the general feeling of the UK being a ‘soft touch’ for granting citizenship and asylum for anyone who needs it. Indeed, only three percent of applications for citizenship were rejected last year.

The findings of these areas of failure may explain why the Government’s Home Office was apprehensive about publishing the report, taking three months to finally get round to doing it. However, ministers were quick to remark that the failings were the responsibility of the previous Labour Government and that therefore they ought to be the ones to answer to the failings found.