The Church of England have slammed the “prohibitive” costs for foreigners and asylum seekers to get British citizenship.
Foreign residents are currently forced to pay around £1,300 to receive citizenship, a fee which has a negative impact on integration, the General Synod said.
The Church’s governing body unanimously chose to investigate the current citizenship application process which begins with a £50 Life in the UK test.
Ben Franks, a lay member of the C of E’s governing body, initiated the debate and told the Synod that people eligible are “working in low-pay sectors”, but due to the “uncertain status” of their residency “well paid employment is more difficult”.
He added that many people have to “save over years to pay for their applications” and some are even forced to “go into long-term, high-interest debt from unscrupulous lenders.”
Under current law people with indefinite leave to remain, but no citizenship, are still required to pay taxes, despite not being able to vote in elections or travel freely, the Synod heard.
The Archbishops’ Council of the C of E will now make recommendations to the government, encouraged its bishops to raise the issue in the House of Lords and asked parishioners to raise the subject with their MPs.