United Kingdom: Information on "Commonwealth Status"; on whether this status permits a citizen of India to work in the UK; on what the status entitles, on its duration, renewability, and right of return to the UK and on whether an Indian citizen can make a refugee claim while in "Commonwealth Status"
|Publisher||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada|
|Publication Date||1 March 1995|
|Citation / Document Symbol||GBR19977.E|
|Cite as||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, United Kingdom: Information on "Commonwealth Status"; on whether this status permits a citizen of India to work in the UK; on what the status entitles, on its duration, renewability, and right of return to the UK and on whether an Indian citizen can make a refugee claim while in "Commonwealth Status", 1 March 1995, GBR19977.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6ad8534.html [accessed 22 September 2014]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
An immigration official with the British High Commission in Ottawa provided the following information in a 6 March 1995 telephone interview. The official stated that there is no specific category called "Commonwealth Status" under UK immigration legislation.
The official indicated that those Commonwealth citizens with a British-born grandparent are eligible to work in the UK for a four-year period. A Commonwealth citizen can apply for this status overseas, or while as a visitor in the UK via the Home Office. Citizens from India are recognized as Commonwealth citizens.
The official also indicated that Commonwealth citizens between the ages of 17 and 27 may be eligible for "working holiday" status, which grants the individual a two-year work permit. Usually this status is granted to Australian or Canadian citizens, the latter through the Student-Work-Abroad-Program (SWAP). A Commonwealth citizen can apply for this status overseas, or while as a visitor in the UK via the Home Office. Since October 1994 "working holiday" status is calculated continuously, whether or not the holder remains in the UK for the two-year validity period of the permit. Previously, a "working holiday" permit-holder could "bank" the amount of time spent outside the UK, by applying for an extension to his/her permit corresponding to the period spent outside of the UK.
The official added that a person accepted into the UK under either category described above could make a refugee claim while in the UK, and would be allowed to remain in the UK until the claim was heard.
For additional information, please consult the excerpts from JCWI Immigration and Nationality Law Handbook 1992, attached to this response.
This response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the DIRB within time constraints. This response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.
High Commission of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Ottawa. 6 March 1995. Telephone interview with immigration official.
Shutter, Sue. 1992. JCWI Immigration and Nationality Law Handbook 1992. London: Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants. Pp. 95-97; 100-107; 152-159; 248-253.