EU citizens have expressed surprise after paying thousands of pounds and going through a long process to naturalise as British citizens, only to be congratulated on their success by “Home Secretary” Sajid Javid.
Javid, currently Health Secretary, was replaced by Priti Patel as Home Secretary in July 2019, becoming Chancellor of the Exchequer when Boris Johnson became prime minister.
Some of the newly-naturalised Brits claimed on a forum for EU citizens they received a letter with no photograph or signature, which suggests the same letter is recycled time and again – despite the Home Secretary changing.
And others joked they had received a letter from Theresa May, who left the Home Office in 2016 when she succeeded David Cameron as prime minister.
Ania Morris, who had her citizenship ceremony last weekend and received a letter from Sajid Javid, said: “Surely it should have been signed by Priti Patel? Unless she just hates us too much to do this.
“Two years is a loooong time not to amend this, it feels a bit disrespectful, and makes those words hollow, given the seriousness of this ceremony.”
Elena Maria Ciorga, from Romania, received the same citizenship letter, signed by Javid, in November last year, after spending an eye-watering £5,000 and waiting for four months from the moment she applied.
The sum included application fees for herself, her husband and her daughter, biometrics appointments, an English test and an additional test about British life, history and traditions, as well as a private ceremony.
After the private ceremony, she received the letter from the former Home Secretary, welcoming her to “our national community”.
‘Must have run out of letters from Theresa May’
She told The London Economic: “I thought it was strange to get this letter from Sajid Javid because he was not Home Secretary at the time.
“I think it was a bit offensive actually after spending so much money and being in this country for so long for them to do this to us. I just wish they were more respectful to others, it looks like they don’t really care.
“I had the ceremony in London. I thought maybe somewhere far away we may get a message from Sajid Javid but in Hammersmith, it’s really strange.”
The letter reads: “Her Majesty The Queen has asked me to welcome you on behalf of Herself, the British Government and your fellow British citizens into our national community.
“Today our country is home to many races and ethnic groups. We are united by our democracy and shared values, our respect for education and learning, our innovation, our compassion and our willingness to listen to different points of view but also together to seek the common good.
“There is so much that is good in British society. And together, working as a community, we can make it even better.”
It adds: “I hope that you will use your vote, take part in the political process, and play an active part in your local communities.”
It also expressed hope that people will “look back with pride” on their decision to become British and insists on the “tolerance” of Britain.
The Home Office said the correct Home Secretary letter was dispatched to the local authority.
A spokesperson told The London Economic that reminders have previously been sent to local authorities to ensure they use up to date correspondence in citizenship letters.
Hammersmith and Fulham Council has been contacted for comment.