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United Kingdom: Overseas territories subject to British sovereignty; whether citizens of these overseas territories enjoy the right to live and work in the United Kingdom; if so, whether there exist any restrictions on their enjoyment of these rights (June 2005)

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Ottawa
Publication Date 17 June 2005
Citation / Document Symbol GBR100220.E
Reference 7
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, United Kingdom: Overseas territories subject to British sovereignty; whether citizens of these overseas territories enjoy the right to live and work in the United Kingdom; if so, whether there exist any restrictions on their enjoyment of these rights (June 2005) , 17 June 2005, GBR100220.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/440ed6fe20.html [accessed 30 August 2014]
DisclaimerThis 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.

Territories Subject to British Sovereignty

According to the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office based in London, the United Kingdom (UK) has 14 Overseas Territories, which are: Anguilla, Bermuda, British Antarctic Territory (BAT), British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT), British Virgin Islands (BVI), Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Pitcairn Islands, St Helena and its Dependencies (Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha), South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, the Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia in Cyprus and The Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) (UK n.d.a). UK Overseas Territories have separate constitutions and are self-governing with "varying degrees of responsibilities for domestic matters," although the governor, who represents the queen, remains responsible for external affairs, internal security, defence and in most cases, the public service (ibid.).

The Right to Live and Work in the United Kingdom

The right of abode entitles individuals to enter a country without permission from immigration officials of that country for the purpose of residence and employment without any restrictions (British High Commission 25 Feb. 2005). Information on the Website of the British High Commission, in Ottawa, provides that "[a]ll British citizens have the right of abode in the UK" (ibid.). Further, "British citizens from the Overseas Territories will ... be able to come to the UK for purposes of leisure, study and employment without gaining prior permission" (UK n.d.b).

For British citizenship purposes, as described by The British Nationality Act 1981, the UK is comprised of England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man (British High Commission n.d.).

In 2002, the British Overseas Territories Act entered into force, thereby extending British citizenship, including the right of abode in the UK, to all individuals who were British Overseas Territories' (BOT) citizens on 20 May 2002, except those whose BOT citizenship was "derived solely from a connection with the Sovereign Base Areas in Cyprus" (UK n.d.b). Individuals who acquire British citizenship in this manner can transmit it to their children automatically (ibid.). Persons who acquired BOT citizenship by naturalization or registration on or after 21 May 2002 are required to apply for British citizenship (ibid.).

Information on the Website of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office indicates that

[a]s a result of the changes introduced by the Act, most people in the Overseas Territories now hold both British citizenship and British overseas territories citizenship concurrently. Those who do not want British citizenship can renounce it in favour of remaining British overseas citizens only (ibid.).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the additional source consulted in researching this Information Request.

References

British High Commission, Ottawa. 25 February 2005. "Guidance – Right of Abode (INF12)." [Accessed 14 June 2005]
_____. n.d. "Who is Eligible for a UK Passport." [Accessed 6 June 2005]

United Kingdom (UK). n.d.a. Foreign and Commonwealth Office. "FAQs on the Overseas Territories." [Accessed 6 June 2005]
_____. n.d.b. "FAQs: The British Overseas Territories Act, 2002 (Referred to After as the 'Act')." [Accessed 6 June 2005]

Additional Source Consulted

The British High Commission, in Ottawa, did not respond to a letter requesting information within time constraints.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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