Stirling MP Alyn Smith has today welcomed clarification from the Home Office regarding citizenship ceremonies, and alternative arrangements during the coronavirus era.
Mr Smith faced growing concerns from constituents on required attendance and timing of citizenship ceremonies. In normal circumstances, within 14 days upon receipt of their lettered instruction an individual must contact their local Registration Office, and make arrangements to attend a ceremony within the next 3 months.
In their reply the Home Office emphasised that extra time would be given for routine registration processes, including: biometric enrollment, providing additional information in support of their application or attending a citizenship ceremony. The Home Office have also confirmed delays caused by the coronavirus outbreak will not result in adverse decisions being made. Specifically in regards to citizenship ceremonies, the 3 month window has been extended to 6.
Commenting, Alyn Smith said:
“During this global pandemic, countless lives and key decisions have been put on hold. Deciding to call Stirling and Scotland home does us an incredible honour – and this process should be as smooth and orderly as possible.
Several government functions are currently under severe strain due to coronavirus-related disruption, and the Home Office is no different. I welcome their response in regards to concerns I and others raised regarding citizenship ceremonies. This should go at least some way in alleviating the time pressure on applicants in these unprecedented times.
“I do believe the Home Office can go further if circumstances allow, and should authorise local authorities to waive the need to attend a citizenship ceremony, and temporarily delegate the authority to post certificates to those concerned, until normal services can be resumed.
Overall I am pleased the concerns of my constituents have been taken into account, and some action taken. I will continue to work constructively with the Home Office, where there are matters that impact on my constituents during this crisis.”