Over 2 Million UK Passports Handed to Foreigners Since 2000

  • Chairman of Migrationwatch blames Labour’s policy of mass immigration
  • Number of passports given has risen by 14 per cent in one year
  • Once given a passport immigrants have full access to housing and benefits
Approved: most of those being granted passports arrived in 2008

Approved: most of those being granted passports arrived in 2008

More than two million immigrants have been granted British citizenship since 2000, it can be revealed.

In the past year alone, a record 204,541 requests for a UK passport were rubber-stamped by the Home Office, official figures show.

This is the equivalent of one migrant being given citizenship every two-and-a-half minutes – the fastest rate in history.

It means the total number given out since the turn of the century now stands at 2,053,396.

Campaigners say the face of British society has been changed for ever in just 13 years.

The main beneficiaries are from India, Pakistan, Nigeria, China and the Philippines.

Once approved, new citizens are treated in the same way as anybody else with a British passport, including no restrictions on access to housing, benefits or the jobs market.

Sir Andrew Green, chairman of Migrationwatch, said the figures were ‘the inevitable consequence’ of Labour’s deliberate policy of mass immigration.

The majority of those currently being given passports arrived in 2008 or earlier. Normally, they qualify for citizenship after living and working in the UK for five years, with officials only able to block those engaged in criminality.

Sir Andrew said: ‘Some four million foreign immigrants have arrived since 1997 of whom, so far, half appear to have qualified for citizenship.

‘However, nobody seems to have the slightest idea how to integrate these people into our society in such a short time.’

The two million new citizens are entitled to vote in general elections, and critics, including Migrationwatch, have long insisted Labour adopted a deliberate policy of mass immigration for political reasons.

They cite remarks by former Labour speech writer Andrew Neather, who boasted the aim of its immigration strategy was to ‘rub the Right’s nose in diversity’.

The latest revelations, based on the Home Office’s own figures, come at a time when the Tories are battling to bring immigration under control.

Officials are now approving citizenship bids faster than at the height of Labour’s open-door policy, in 2009, when a then-record 203,789 were rubber stamped.

The figures also shed new light on ministers’ claims that two-thirds of new jobs are going to ‘British workers’. They point to the fact that, over the past year, the number of UK nationals in work has risen by 208,000 – compared with an increase of 98,000 in the foreign workforce.

But much of this increase is down to people who were born abroad being handed British passports, rather than UK-born people finding work.

If the figures are recalculated based on a person’s place of birth, only 98,000 new jobs have gone to people born in Britain. The vast majority – 204,000 – were born overseas.


The numbers given permission to settle permanently, the last stage before applying for a passport, also rose by nine per cent in the year to June, to 153,000. There are three main routes to British citizenship, which was granted to only 82,210 people in 2000.

The main one is residence. After living here for a fixed-period of time – normally five years – migrants apply for indefinite leave to remain. Last year, 111,637 qualified in this way.

Significant numbers of passports were obtained through marriage to a British citizen, at 42,048, or by being the child of a British national, 45,772.

In the previous year, to June 2012, 179,697 passports were given out – 14 per cent fewer.

Migrants must also pass the Life in the UK multiple choice test – recently condemned as a ‘bad pub quiz’ by a Durham University academic.

Dr Thom Brooks said the latest version fails to mention GCSEs or A-levels, or ‘practical necessities’ such as how to report a crime.

Home Secretary Theresa May has been battling to get net migration – the number of people arriving in Britain, versus those leaving – under control.

Ministers have promised to reduce it to the ‘tens of thousands’ by the next election.

It had been falling steadily and was 153,000 in the year to September 2012. But, in a blow to the Government, it has risen to an estimated 176,000 a year.

The rise was driven by a drop in the numbers leaving, from 351,000 to 321,000 in the year to December 2012, the Office for National Statistics said, while the number of arrivals fell from 566,000 to 497,000.

Last night a Tory party spokesman said: ‘This shows we’re still seeing the consequences of Labour’s open-door immigration policy. We are tightening the rules and have cut net migration by a third since 2010.’

The Home Office said: ‘British citizenship is a privilege, not a right. We are toughening up language requirements for naturalisation and latest figures show applications for citizenship are falling. Immigration is at its lowest for a decade.’

– Daily Mail