CCLC welcomes the Mayor of London’s strategy for social integration and the Mayor’s commitment to working towards a shorter, more affordable route to citizenship.
The strategy, published today, recognises that:
thousands of young Londoners have grown up here but cannot fulfil their potential because of insecure immigration status. Despite London being their home, these young people find themselves blocked from living a normal life, contributing and progressing. They cannot work, access mainstream benefits, hold a driving licence or open a bank account, and are effectively barred from higher education.
There are more than 100,000 children in this position, but our recent research estimated that the number of undocumented children regularising their status each year is in the low thousands at most, with the majority only securing temporary leave to remain and starting on the long road to permanence. Barriers to young people acquiring settled status include the lack of free, quality legal representation; and very high application fees. Even for children who are entitled to register as British there is still a fee of £973, of which £587 is profit to the Home Office. While the Mayor cannot change the immigration and nationality system directly, we welcome his commitment to advocating alongside young Londoners for a shorter, more affordable route to citizenship.
CCLC has been proud to be part of the Mayor of London’s Citizenship and Integration Initiative since April 2017. Supporting young Londoners to secure their residence and citizenship rights is vital work, and we look forward to working further with the Greater London Authority and civil society partners to do so. As we wait to fully understand what will happen to EU children and families in the UK after Brexit, it is more important than ever to ensure that children and young people who have grown up here are able to have secure status. The Mayor’s strategy for social integration is taking important steps to ensure that all young Londoners can build their futures here.