Unpaid help must be given by choice, not compulsion 08 December 2008. Volunteering England Agency has called for more detail on the Government’s proposal to accelerate citizenship for migrants who volunteer.
Last week, the Queen’s speech and the government strategy for communities announced changes to the way immigrants gain British citizenship.
The new Citizenship, Borders and Immigration Bill will propose that migrants who have demonstrated "earned citizenship", for example through volunteering, should be able to apply for citizenship or permanent residency sooner than those who have not.
Justin Davis Smith, chief executive of Volunteering England, said the proposal had the potential to enhance volunteering and build social cohesion, but that people should never feel pressured to volunteer.
"Volunteering should always be freely undertaken – there must always be the element of choice," he said.
"Careful and considered thought must be put into how the active citizenship provisions would work in practice – who will facilitate the active citizenship opportunities, who will monitor the volunteers’ commitment and how it will be funded."
Volunteering England works to support and increase the quality, quantity, impact and accessibility of volunteering throughout England.