§ Mr. Luce
I beg to move amendment No. 28, in page 13, line 15, leave out paragraph (b) and insert—`(b)that the parent in question was employed in relevant employment (but not necessarily the same relevant employment) throughout the period of two years ending with the date of the birth and was on that date employed in overseas employment;'.
§ Mr. Luce
These amendments make changes to the arrangements in clause 15 which enable citizens of the British dependent territories by descent, who have links with the dependent territories, mainly through their employment, to secure citizenship for their children born outside the dependent territories as an entitlement, on application. The changes are comparable to those we have brought forward to clause 3, which benefit children born overseas to British citizens by descent.
Of course, the numbers of children born to citizens of the British dependent territories who will benefit from these changes will be a good deal smaller than those born to British citizens who will benefit from the changes made to clause 3. This reflects not only the smaller numbers eligible for citizenship of the British dependents: it also reflects differences in economic structure between many of the dependencies and the United Kingdom. None the less, we think that it is only reasonable that those born outside the dependent territories to citizens of the British dependent territories should have the same opportunities to acquire their parents' citizenship as children born overseas to British citizens.
The amendments fall into three broad groups. First, in amendments Nos. 28, 29 and 35, we have altered the requirement in the Bill as introduced that the parent of a child to be registered in this way should have been employed outside the dependent territories for five years in employment to which clause 15(2) relates. Instead, the parent now must have been in relevant employment—whether in dependent territories or outside them—only for two years preceding the child's birth: the types of employment which are relevant employment are now, under amendment No. 29, defined in subsection (3) 1001 of clause 15. The parent must also be in overseas employment at the date of birth. Overseas employment is defined, under amendment No. 35, as meaning employment under the terms of which the employee normally works outside the dependent territories. Changes in relevant employment throughout the two-year qualifying period would now be permitted whereas under the Bill as introduced they would not.
In the light of these changes, a consequential amendment—No. 34—is needed to clause 15(4)(b). This provides, among other things, that the Secretary of State shall have discretion to reduce the period of relevant employment specified in clause 15(2)(b). Since, in amendment No. 28, the normal period of relevant employment has been shortened from five to two years, it follows that the reference in Clause 15(4)(b) to that period must also be altered from five years to two years.
I turn now to amendments Nos. 30, 31, 32 and to another aspect of amendment No. 35. These widen the categories of employment in which a citizen of the British dependent territories must be engaged for two years if his child born outside the dependent territories is to be eligible for citizenship of the British dependent territories by registration or application. The first of these—amendment No. 30—enables employment with a company or association established outside the dependent territories to count towards the employment requirement, where the employment was arranged by a company or association established in a dependent territory. As with the parallel amendment to clause 3, there will be certain safeguards in other parts of clause 15—for example, the requirement that the nature or terms and conditions of the employment involve a close connection with one or more dependent territories—to ensure that people with very slight links with a dependent territory through their employment overseas are excluded.
The second amendment in this group, amendment No. 31, covers full-time employment with any company or association established outside the dependent territories where that concern is associated with a company or association established in a dependent territory. Under the definition in clause 3(7)(c) as applied to this clause, a company or association is associated with another when one of them is directly or indirectly controlled by the other, or if each of them is directly or indirectly controlled by a third company or association.
This amendment would benefit, for example, a citizen of the British dependent territories by descent who is working overseas for a multinational company, whether its headquarters are in a dependent territory or elsewhere, where the company has interests in a dependent territory; or, alternatively, the employee of a multinational company based in a dependent territory who is required to serve abroad as part of his career. Such a person would, of course, also have to show that he or she had close connections with a dependent territory through his work and that he intended to maintain close connections with a dependent territory in future.
The third amendment in this group is amendment No. 32. It will enable a citizen of the British dependent territories by descent who is employed full-time by an international organisation which includes companies or associations established in the dependent territories among its members to secure citizenship of the British dependent territories for his or her child born overseas, provided he meets the other requirements of clause 15(2).
1002 Finally, in this group of amendments, amendment No. 35 provides, amongst other things that partners in companies and associations established in a dependent territory will be regarded as employees of those companies and associations.
I conclude with amendment No. 33. It falls into two parts. The first is to cover the case of a person who has gaps in his or her employment during the two years prior to the birth of his child. He may, for instance, have lost his job or given it up voluntarily, and it may have taken him a little time to find another. Clearly we do not want this kind of gap to affect an individual's chances of securing citizenship of the British dependent territories for his child. So we have provided here that, during a gap of up to 90 days between two periods of relevant employment, a citizen of the British dependent territories by descent shall be regarded as still being in relevant employment. If such a citizen was in overseas employment immediately before the gap, he shall be regarded as still being in overseas employment throughout the period.
The second part of the amendment is to cover women who give up their work to have a child. It is, of course, possible that such women will be on maternity leave from their employers and at the time of the child's birth will still be in employment. But this may not be so in all cases, and it would be wrong that a woman who is a citizen of the British dependent territories by descent should be unable to fulfil the employment requirement simply because she left work to have her baby. So this part of the amendment provides that a woman who is a citizen of the British dependent territories by descent, who has been in relevant employment in the 180 days leading up to the birth of her child, shall be regarded as being in relevant employment. If the employment she was in was overseas employment—that is, employment ordinarily undertaken outside the dependent territories—she will be regarded as being in overseas employment at the time of the child's birth.
We believe that these amendments will ensure that those who are citizens of the British dependent territories by descent, but have a continuing link with a dependent territory through their work and in other ways, will be able to secure citizenship for their children born outside the dependent territories. These amendments must be seen, too, in the context of other provisions in the Bill for those who are citizens of the British dependent territories by descent—such as clause 15(5) which gives an entitlement to citizenship of the British dependent territories to a child born outside the dependent territories to a citizen of the British dependent territories by descent who returns to a dependency with his family and lives there for three years.
I apologise for the time that I have taken in explaining the amendments, but it is important to get on record and explain to the House the changes that we are proposing in the Bill as a result of these amendments, of which there are quite a number. I commend them to the House.
§ Amendment agreed to.
Amendments made: No. 29, in page 13, line 28 leave out 'Subsection (2) applies to' and insert—
'In this section "relevant employment" means'.
No. 30, in page 13, line 32, leave out from 'territories' to 'company' in line 34 and insert—
`, where the employee's employment with that company or association was arranged by a'.
No. 31, in page 13, line 35, at end insert—
`(bb) with any company or association established outside the dependent territories which is associated with a company or association established in a dependent territory;'.
No. 32, in page 13, line 38, after 'territory', insert—
'or a company or association established in a dependent territory'.
No. 33, in page 13, line 38, at end insert—
'(4) For the purposes of subsection (2)(b)—
§ No. 34, in page 13, line 44, leave out 'five' and insert `two'.
No. 35, in page 14, leave out line 33 and insert—
'(7) Section 3(7) and (8) shall apply for the purposes of this section with the following modifications, namely—