Synod debates cost of applying for citizenship


10 July 2017

The cost of applying for citizenship in the UK is too high,
unfair, and risks undoing the work of integration, General Synod
was told today.

This morning’s debate highlighted the issues faced by those with
indefinite leave to remain in the UK who face a prohibitive cost -
currently £1,282 for each adult – to apply for citizenship. Those
who do not apply for citizenship but have indefinite leave to
remain cannot vote in elections, have more limited travel options
and cannot take up their full civic responsibilities, despite
paying tax.

A motion, passed unanimously by Synod, asks the Archbishops’
Council to make recommendations to the Government on the issue, and
encourages bishops in the House of Lords to address the issue in
debates.

Ben Franks, the member of the House of Laity who initiated the
debate, sad “Many of those who are eligible to apply for
citizenship are working in the low-pay sectors of our economy due
to their uncertain status making well paid employment more
difficult. Many people save over years to pay for their
applications, there are also those whose difficult situation leads
them to go into long-term, high-interest debt from unscrupulous
lenders to do so.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

310 votes were recorded in favour of the motion, with 0 against and
0 abstentions.

The motion was as follows:

That this Synod:

(a) request the Archbishops’ Council’s Mission and Public Affairs
Council to investigate the issues around the cost of applying for
citizenship and to make recommendations to HM Government;

(b) encourage the Lords Spiritual actively to seek opportunities to
address the level of citizenship fees in debate;

(c) urge parishes to raise the issue with their MP; and

(d) encourage parishes to continue to support those known to them
who are struggling with the cost of citizenship fees without
incurring debt and to signpost responsible lenders or local credit
unions for advice.