Citizenship policy inquiry launched by thinktank British Future

PASSPORT CONTROL: (From left) Jill Rutter, Alberto Costa MP, Sunder Katwala, Ilse Mogensen and Robert Winder at the Citizenship Inquiry launch on Tuesday (3)

by LAUREN CODLING

MIGRANT groups have been urged to take part in an inquiry launched on Tuesday (3) which is set to explore citizenship policy in the UK.

The launch saw experts call for migrants’ organisations, academics and migrants to provide an insight into their experiences and recommendations on citizenship.

Chaired by Alberto Costa MP and coordinated by thinktank British Future, the independent inquiry will aim to look at current policies and the application of nationality law; identify
and set out practical proposals for citizenship reform capable of securing cross-party support; and spark a greater debate about citizenship policies.

The full report is set to be published in January 2020. Addressing guests in central
London, British Future spoke of its efforts to gather opinion on the current policies.

In order to collect evidence, the thinktank recently visited Southampton to discuss the inquiry with British-born citizens and those who had recently obtained citizenship.

At the launch, British Future’s Jill Rutter confirmed there were further plans to visit Edinburgh in October to conduct further research on citizenship. A community event in Birmingham is also expected to feed into the inquiry.

“The potential benefits of citizenship for integration have yet to be fully realised,” Rutter said. Conservative politician Costa, who is of Italian descent, added his thoughts on the meaning behind being British.

“To me today being British isn’t about carrying a passport,” he said. “It is respect for rule of law developed over centuries.”

Those supporting the inquiry will be asked to look at several areas, including questions relating to the eligibility criteria that applicants should fulfil before becoming citizens; what the UK’s citizenship policy should aim to achieve and which changes to policy should be prioritised.

The inquiry comes weeks before the UK is set to leave the EU on October 31. The government introduced an EU Settlement Scheme earlier this year, which has asked non-British EU citizens to apply if they wish to be eligible to continue to reside in the UK after June 2021.

The deadline for submissions is October 18. See http://www.british future.org/articles/citizenshipinquiry/ for more