"The U.K. government has the power to make our lives better & complete."
We have successfully campaigned to convince the UK Government to make legislative changes that provides a retrospective right to register the births of children, now adults, under the following categories:
1. Illegitimate Children born before 1 July 2006 to British Overseas Territories fathers
Children born to unmarried British fathers could not acquire British nationality through their father before 1 July 2006. Registration provisions were introduced for people born to unmarried British citizen fathers before 1 July 2006 to be registered as citizens by section 65 of the Immigration Act 2014. These allow a person to register as a British citizen if they have acquired that status automatically under the British Nationality Act 1981 had their father been married to their mother. However, the same category of illegitimate children born to British Overseas Territories fathers did not get this same consideration and was intentionally left out of that legislation.
Section 65 was introduced at a very late stage in the Bill debates: it was recognized that each overseas territory has its immigration law, and to create a route for people to become British Overseas Territories citizens (which could give a right of abode in a territory) would require more comprehensive consultation with governors and territory governments, which was not possible before the introduction of that Act. Corresponding provisions were therefore not extended to include British Overseas Territories citizenship. We were deliberately left out!
2. Children born before 1 January 1983 to British Overseas Territories mothers
Before 1 January 1983, women could not pass on British nationality to a child born outside the U.K. and Colonies. Provisions to allow for children born before 1983 to British citizen mothers to be registered as British citizens were introduced in the Nationality, Immigration, and Asylum Act 2002 but were not extended to British Overseas Territories mothers. This was because the registration provision was introduced to extend the concession announced in 1979 to register U.K.-born mothers' children only. The aim in 2002 was to cover those who could have been registered as children based on that concession but had not applied in time. The criteria introduced - that the person would (if women could have passed on citizenship at that time) have become a citizen of the U.K. and Colonies and acquired a right of abode in the U.K. - aimed to cover those who had a maternal connection with the U.K. The registration criteria were extended in legislation in 2009. As this was introduced as an unexpected Lord's amendment, there was no time to consult with BOT governments about the implications of doing something for BOTCs, which could impact territory migration. Therefore today, there is no route to register for British & British Overseas Territories citizenship.
3. British Overseas Territories Act 2002 - Impact on children of descent
When the British Overseas Territories Act 2002 came into force, it enabled anyone who was a BOTC on 21 May 2002 to automatically become a full British citizen. Equally, it allowed British citizenship to be acquired through birth in an overseas territory or to a relevant parent from an overseas territory. This means that people in the above groups missed out on gaining BOTC and British citizenship. Therefore, the only way to fix this is to make further inclusive amendments to the British Nationality Act 1981 to provide a retrospective route to register births for nationality purposes. It will allow disenfranchised children, now adults, of British Overseas Territories descent, to become British and British Overseas Territories citizens.