People who have been impacted by discrimination.
Rogers' Story - Anguilla
Rogers was born in Anguilla in 1988. Her mother was born in St. Kitts in 1968, and naturalized in Anguilla in 2005, based on her residency. Her father was born in Anguilla in 1966 and holds a British Overseas Territories passport. In 2002, after the British Overseas Territories Act was introduced, he automatically becomes a British citizen. Sadly, he passed away in 2019. Her grandparents were also born in Anguilla. So her connections with being Anguillan & British are strong. After applying for a British passport, Rogers was informed that due to the fact she was born outside of marriage, and her parents never married, she is not eligible for BOTC or British passports.
“I don’t understand why the UK & Anguilla government officials cannot see me as a valid citizen. Denying me just because my father did not marry my mother is so very wrong and out of date with the modern way of life. I have a right to belong and be recognized.”
Shelly Omarie Duberry
Story - Montserrat/Antigua
I was born out-of-wedlock in 1985 in Antigua, WI. Antigua is part of the British Commonwealth countries and former British Colony. My father was born in wedlock as a 'Citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies 'CUKC' in Antigua. My mother was born in Antigua as a 'CUKC.' My paternal grandfather was born in wedlock as a 'CUKC' in Montserrat, a former British Colony now a British Overseas Territory.
I applied for British Overseas Territories' 'BOTC' by descent via my father, mother, and grandfather, but I hit an obstacle. Since 1915 British nationality law will not recognize me as a British Overseas Territories Citizen 'BOTC' by descent, as my father is already holding the same status. The BOTC status cannot pass on to more than one generation.
It is grossly unfair that I can't be welcomed, embraced, and officially recognized as British by descent. The UK Government could choose to amend the law and include us. Other countries like Ireland have allowed a grandchild to claim a grandparent's Irish citizenship for some time. Unfortunately, the UK is not as progressive.
The way that the UK treats Commonwealth-born children is not equal. For example, there is a program called the Ancestry Visa program. It allows a Commonwealth-born child with a mainland UK-born Grandparent to come to live and work in the UK; from there, you can apply for a long-term visa and eventually gain British citizenship. However, if your Grandparent is from any Commonwealth country, you cannot use this route. It should be changed to allow any grandchild of any mainland UK and Commonwealth country to have equal access to the program.
Unfortunately, it seems to only benefit grandchildren from Australia & New Zealand with UK-born grandparents.
Whether mainland UK, a British Overseas Territory, or Commonwealth country, every grandchild should have the same opportunity.
Many good people of descent can significantly contribute to the British way of life and economy.
Shelly Omarie Duberry
Shelley's Story - St. Helenia
I was born March 1979 in South Africa, raised by my St. Helenian-born mother born in 1943, and my St. Helenian maternal grandparents who were also married on the island.
My mother was not married at the time of my birth, and my father's details are unknown. They arrived in South Africa as British subjects and were all citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies.
My whole childhood was centered on my St. Helenian heritage, and I was taught from a young age to be proud of it!
Two years ago, I decided to get in touch with my heritage and submitted all documents required to "claim my heritage" left for me by my mother and my grandparents. They, at that time, according to their passports, stated they were valid for all parts of the commonwealth and all foreign countries.
I received this reply via the immigration office, who informed me that: “I am not entitled to citizenship because I was born to a Saint Helena mother, but had it been my father, I would have been entitled.” COMPLETE discrimination, yet here we are in 2021 and nothing has been done to assist the adult children of BOTC to claim retrospective rights to British & British Overseas Territories citizenship.
For St. Helenian status, a person must first qualify for British Dependent Territories Citizenship - we use the British Nationalities Act (BNA) to ascertain this. We use the dates of birth of the person in question to refer to the relevant BNA.
Here's the response I got back from the UK Immigration & Nationality Service:
"In response to your email below, I can confirm that your mother and grandparents qualified as follows:
As you were born in 1979, we referred to the previous 1948 British Nationalities act. The 1948 act gives preference to the male line (as was very common to do with a lot of situations in those days). You didn't gain status because of the following clause in the BNA 1948 5 (I) "Subject to the provisions of this section, a person born after the commencement of this Act shall be a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies by descent if his father is a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies at the time of the birth..." the keyword being "father."
So basically, this means is that if your father was born in St Helena, you might have qualified for British Overseas Territories Citizenship; however, your father is unknown, and unfortunately, the descent cannot be passed to you via your mother, and you yourself were not born in St. Helena.
I understand you might think this unfortunate and unfair, but this was the law in those days, and the repercussions still resonate."
"British Subjects - Part 1.1. (1) (a) Any person born within His Majesty's dominions and allegiance - under the British Nationalities Act 1914.
“Citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies -12. (I) (a) .... born within the territories... -
transitional under the British Nationalities Act 1948”
“British Dependent Territories Citizen - 23. (1) (a) immediately before commencement, he was a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies who had that citizenship by his birth in a dependent territory - acquisition at commencement under the British Nationalities Act 1981.”
Your mother and grandparents were all born in St Helena; thus, they all qualified as British Dependent Territories Citizens (BDTC) under the British Nationalities Act 1981.
Shaneez Story - St. Helena
My great-grandmother Mary was born in St Helena. She gave birth to my grandmother on 11 May 1903. No father is stated on the birth or baptism certificates.
While living in Zimbabwe, we visited the British Embassy around 2002 and we offered British passports to all people eligible for this. I went forward and was denied this right. I was told that my grandmother was not male and therefore did not qualify for this.
My neighbour whose grandfather was born in St Helena and was my grandmother's neighbour in St Helena was granted a British Passport as he was male!
His descendants were issued British rights, yet we were denied this on the grounds of gender!
This is so unfair. Gender discrimination is rampant in Britsh Nationlaity law.