Children born abroad to British mothers did not automatically acquire their mother’s British nationality until 1983. The government only recognised this injustice in February 1979, promising to legislate to abolish it but in the meantime giving British-born women the right to register their minor children born abroad as British Citizens. In the past before 2010 children who are older ie born before 1961 have the right of abode if born in a commonwealth country and many live in the UK. Some refused the path of naturalisation out of protest that they were required to take a "life in the UK test" and "test of English" as its a bit Ridiculous to suppose children of English speaking mothers would be raised speaking some other foreign language other then English. Most of these persons who live in the UK are tax payers and are very integrated in British society through blood and family ties not only through their mothers but also established by themselves. Their children and indeed grand children are all British.
In the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 limited steps were taken to address this, but these provide a means to remedy the situation by registration under what is now s.4C of the British Nationality Act 1981 only for those born on or after 7 February 1961. As a result, sibling groups may be divided. In 2006, a good character test was introduced for many categories of registration, including for children over 10 (see section 58 of the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006, amending the British Nationality Act 1981). The original proposal was that all children, including babies under 12 months old, should be subject to the good character test. Further concerns are caused by its having been imported into nationality law, where it breaks down the distinction between registration by discretion and registration by entitlement.It thus imposes a very harsh sanction, that of inability to become British where otherwise one would have had the right to do so, on those to whom the UK has special obligations and to children. The good character test should not apply in cases where, prior to 2006, people registered by entitlement. It was forced in for anti-terror legislation purposes and somehow made out that children born abroad to British females would be less loyal then children born to British fathers.
The 2009 Act brought in minor changes to section 4C whereby older children were allowed to also register, but changes brought about due to anti-terror legislation affected them and they are subject to a registration fee and good character checks imposed despite their blood and family ties with the UK and the fact that many of these persons can already live in the UK by virtue of their right of abode status.
This discrimination on the basis of age and gender should be stopped by making a amendments to existing laws and not subject these persons who have close blood and family ties to the UK to undergo this separate and expensive and drawn out process and treatment regardless of whether they can pay such fees or not
One thing is clear : registration involving a good character test and/or fees, and/or bureaucratic hurdles is not registration by entitlement. In addition high fees have been introduced to discourage registration. These high fees are designed to put off from applying for registration. Registration by entitlement, giving rise to a choate right to nationality, not an inchoate right that depends upon negotiating a good character test, paying fees, and satisfying complex bureaucratic procedures, is the appropriate route those deprived of their rights as nationals without their consent and fundamental to recognising nationality as a matter separate from immigration status. Consideration could usefully be given to creating a single status for British nationals who do not wish to register as British citizens, so that they can continue to enjoy the limited rights (of consular protection) to which their historic connection with the UK has entitled them.