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Nationality and Borders Bill

New Plan for Immigration

The 2021 legislation passing through the UK parliament, the Nationality and Borders Bill, is providing an opportunity for positive change for Chagossians. In its unamended form it seeks to remove certain inconsistencies and unfairness from British Overseas Territories Citizenship and to provide a means to register for British citizenship where there has been:

(a) historical legislative unfairness,

(b) an act or omission of a public authority, or

(c) exceptional circumstances relating to an individual

This could apply to the Chagossians, but we feel it is still too vague and imprecise, and relies on the opinion of the Home Secretary. For this reason, we have been actively pursuing an amendment to the Bill which would guarantee citizenship to all of Chagossian descent and their spouses. To this end we have written letters and briefing document, held meetings with MPs and with an immigration lawyer, Alexander Finch of Fragomen.

What Have Chagossian Voices Done?

  1. We prepared a submission and petition for the consultation phase, when the Bill was being prepared and written, which clearly explained the immigration problems experienced by Chagossians
  2. We held meetings with the Home Office Immigration Policy team to explain the problems
  3. We held meetings with MPs Henry Smith, Stuart McDonald and Bambos Charalambous and lawyer Alex Finch to discuss the possibility and wording of an amendment.
  4. We submitted a briefing document for MPs on the committee for the Bill, which clearly explained the problems experienced by Chagossians and what the community needed in the new legislation. This is now published on the Parliament website.