Might Brexit reverse a fall in new citizens?

The number of new Londoners taking their final step to British citizenship has fallen to its lowest level since 2004.

Figures from the Home Office show that in 2015 some 37,118 adults attended a formal citizenship ceremony where they took an oath or affirmation of allegiance and received their certificate of citizenship.  This is the lowest number since the ceremonies were first introduced in 2004 as the final and compulsory stage of the citizenship process.

Once a citizenship application is granted the Home Office sends out an invitation letter and an individual must attend a ceremony within three months.

The number attending in London has fallen by more than 7,000 on 2014 and is down by 43% from a highpoint in 2009, when more than 65,000 people attended ceremonies.

The ceremonies are organised by local authorities and were introduced by the government to foster the idea that gaining citizenship was an event to be celebrated rather than simply a bureaucratic process.  Other countries including the USA, Canada and Australia do the same.

The first ever ceremony was carried out in Brent.  Last year 1,885 people attended events there, the highest number in London, closely followed by Newham and Hounslow.

The lowest number of new citizens proclaiming their allegiance to Queen and country were in the boroughs of Richmond, Kingston and Bexley. The small resident population of the City of London welcomed 17 new members to its community in 2015.

Citizenship London Map-2

The fall in London is reflected across the country.  The number of citizenship ceremonies peaked nationally in 2013 but have fallen back in the past two years

Citizenship since 2004

London retains its position for welcoming the bulk of new Britons.  Since 2004 around half of the ceremonies for the whole country took place in the capital.  Last year it was 45% and 16 of the London boroughs each had more ceremonies than the whole of Wales.

Citizenship regional

The latest data from the Home Office for the number of applications granted, the stage ahead of the final ceremony, show that numbers may be going up.  The national figures for the 12 months up to the end of June, which includes the period running up to the Brexit referendum, show that 40,000 more people gained British citizenship than in the 12 months to June 2015.

The figures do not show what impact this upturn has on London, but given the large proportion of applicants who make their home in the capital the numbers suggest that 2016 will see a rising number of ceremonies and new citizens after the drop in 2015.

Source data

See also

Our multi-lingual city – English second language for half of primary pupils

London is more diverse than the UN or Fifa

London’s unique language landscape where 26% don’t speak English at home

A tenth of Londoners won’t get a vote but may feel the impact of the EU referendum