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Buachaill, Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10983
Experience:  Barrister 17 years experience
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I'm an EU national, have lived in the UK years, and want to

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I'm an EU national, have lived in the UK for 11 years, and want to become naturalised.
When I first arrived in the UK in 2005, I worked as an au pair, and knew little about immigration regulations (other than the fact that I was legally allowed to be and work in the country with my EU passport). This means that for around 2 years I worked without having registered for WRS, and without a National Insurance Number. My employers at the time assured me that I didn't need to do anything. I was paid very small amounts of pocket money (so never exceeded what I now know was the tax-free personal allowance).
Whilst I appreciate that ignorance is not an excuse, I was wondering how I should explain this period, and whether it will jeopardise my application?

1. You are worrying unduly here. There is no need to explain every period you were living in the UK. What is important is that during the last five years you were living lawfully in the Uk and can explain that period. You can get UK citizenship based upon living lawfully in the UK for five years continuously and effectively. However, the first thing you need to do is to get a Permanent Residence Card. This is necessary to show that you have been living in the UK visa free for one year before you make your UK citizenship application. If you don't already have a Permanent Residence card, you need to apply for one immediately and to hold it for one year Here is a link to a page on the UK Government website which explains how to apply and with a link to the application form

2. Be aware additionally, that you either need to have been paying National Insurance contributions for these five years or else you need to have had private medical health insurance. So, if you are not working, you need to get private health insurance cover.

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi,Thanks very much for your response. Whilst I find it comforting indeed, I can't say it's enough to allay my worries.If I understand correctly, the requirement to declare one's employment history for either the most recent 10 years, or since first entry to the UK is primarily connected to the good character requirement, i.e. it serves to reveal whether the applicant may have fallen foul of any other government departments' regulations (so, for example, working an illegal number of hours etc.). If I declare my pre-WRS and pre-NIN work activity and the HO cross references with HMRC, there'll be no record of any tax or national insurance contributions, or WRS registration (regardless of the fact the scheme has been ruled unlawful) - which seems more than likely to raise doubts over my record (again, regardless of the fact that I am unlikely, in practice, to be in any tax arrears).Could you clarify what gives you the confidence that this situation will not affect my application?

4. You can make the argument that everything goes to the issue of good character. However, I have never known someone to be refused citizenship merely for breaches of WRS registration or technical breaches of the law which go back more than five years. Under the heading of "good character" people who have had criminal convictions within the last three years have them ignored if the sentence is less than a custodial sentence. For example, someone who gets a large fine for dangerous driving still gets their citizenship even though the sentence is still less than a year old. Similarly even people who get a three month sentence have this ignored after three years have elapsed. Accordingly, I consider it a bit ludicrous that you would be refused on the basis of "good character" when you are referring to something which is 12/13 years old and for which you were never convicted of anything. It is for this reason, I have told you that you are worrying unduly. There is an adage of Mark Twain, that "I am an old man now, and I have had a life full of troubles - most of which never happened!"

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi,Thank you very much. Is your advice then to simply declare the period fully with no pre-emptive explanation of potential HMRC discrepancies?

5. Just fill in the form. Don't be foolish and start explaining things which have little or no relevance to the issue of whether you will get citizenship. Authorities just don't have the time to check every detail. If they checked this type of thing with every application, the work just would never get done!

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
That's great, thank you for your help.

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