Volunteering England questions migrant bill

Call for more detail on Government plans for volunteering as a faster route to citizenship

Volunteering England has called for more detail on the Government's proposal to accelerate citizenship for migrants who volunteer.

In this week's Queen's Speech, the Government announced proposed changes to the way immigrants gain British citizenship.

The new Citizenship, Borders and Immigration Bill will propose that migrants who have demonstrated "active citizenship", for example through volunteering, should be able to apply for citizenship or permanent residency sooner than those who have not.

Justin Davis Smith, chief executive of Volunteering England, said the proposal had the potential to enhance volunteering and build social cohesion, but that people should never feel pressured to volunteer.

"Volunteering should always be freely undertaken – there must always be the element of choice," he said.

"Careful and considered thought must be put into how the active citizenship provisions would work in practice – who will facilitate the active citizenship opportunities, who will monitor the volunteers' commitment and how it will be funded."

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