New bill takes citizenship out of women and non-white migrants’ reach

The condition of "uninterrupted continuous employment” hard to fulfill for particularly vulnerable employees 04 June 2009: Non-while migrant women, or disabled, looking forward to British citizenship are likely to face disappointment, with a new bill leaving them with little chance to succeed.

For most may find themselves unable to fulfill the condition of "uninterrupted continuous employment".

The “Borders, citizenship and immigration bill" sets out just who will be regarded as a British citizen; and will be entitled to right to membership, including the right to abode, unrestricted access to the labour market and the right to vote.

If you are a migrant, and also a woman, are not white or are disabled, there’s nothing to technically stop you from applying for citizenship. But, your chances of success will be greatly diminished.

There are two reasons for this: firstly, the bill introduces an additional requirement to show that for a further period, ordinarily lasting three years, the migrant workers who have worked in the UK for several years have been not just in employment, but in uninterrupted continuous employment.

Secondly, there’s to be a new mechanism through which migrants will be able to reduce the extended timeframes for securing citizenship – unpaid community service.

The details surrounding this are blurry. But, according to a suggestion there will be no ceiling on the time migrants are required to devote to this.

It’s no secret that women, the disabled and non-white employees tend to be particularly vulnerable to discrimination in the labour market. The Equality and Human Rights Commission previously estimated every year about 30,000 women are pushed out of work on account of pregnancy alone.

Moreover women still overwhelmingly assume child and other caring responsibilities, which require time out of the labour market.

Countering the fears, the government, on the other hand, asserts there are discretionary powers in the bill to overlook brief periods of unemployment and treat certain prescribed individuals as though they meet the community service requirements. It is sufficient to deal with concerns.

Related article: A ceiling on number of citizenships in offing

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