More than 100 education leaders have signed a letter urging home secretary Sajid Javid to reduce sky high child citizenship fees to ensure families do not have to go to “upsetting” lengths to save. The Independent reports.
Parents are working multiple jobs, getting into debt and going without food to ensure they can pay for their child to obtain citizenship – which costs more than £1,000, school staff have said.
UK citizenship fees are almost 10 times the cost of France, Sweden, Belgium and Spain and five times more than the “EU 15” nations on average, research from charity Citizens UK has found.
They say some school pupils – who were born in the UK – are being priced out of citizenship, while stretched families are seeking food vouchers and taking out loans to save up enough for the fees.
The letter, which has been signed by headteachers and senior academics, says: “Schools who have multiple pupils in this situation have noticed a real and significant detrimental impact from the cost of this application, including an increase in food insecurity and lack of basic needs being met.”
It adds: “Without citizenship young people are ineligible for student loans and home fees and are effectively blocked from going to university. If we are serious about social mobility, then this barrier to education must be removed.”
Daniel, a 15-year-old who has been in the UK since the age of three, was prevented from going on school trips and risks missing out on college because his mother could not afford to apply for citizenship.
He previously told The Independent: “It’s stopped me doing a lot of things. I felt like I was different from everyone else. You’d think me being British would be something that would come naturally as I’ve been here as long as I can remember. It’s been really limiting.”
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