In many cases, after obtaining indefinite leave to remain or permanent residency, non-UK nationals wish to apply for naturalisation as a British citizen.
Individuals applying for naturalisation must be of ‘good character’. In assessing this the Home Office will take into account a range of factors, including any convictions, cautions, civil judgments, bankruptcies, financial soundness and any instances of failure to comply with immigration laws. This can potentially even include an assessment of speeding penalties, parking fines and other driving offences, debts and failure to pay council tax. It also includes any incidents which took place overseas.
It’s worth noting that the good character requirement applies to adults and to children over the age of 10.
If a person is deemed not to be of good character their naturalisation application will be refused.
The Home Office has recently updated its guidance in relation to how caseworkers will assess whether or not someone meets the good character requirement. The guidance can be accessed at the following link https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/good-character-nationality-policy-guidance
It is important that applicants declare any convictions or other issues when applying for naturalisation. If they fail to do so their application may be refused on the grounds of deception. Even driving and parking offences and Fixed Penalty Notices should be declared.
These requirements apply up until the date of the decision so applicants are under a duty to notify the Home Office if anything occurs which may influence the Home Office’s decision on their application.
Employers should be aware that if an employee’s application for naturalisation is refused this does not prejudice their current immigration status so it is unlikely you would need to take any action.