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Strangers into Citizens

Strangers into Citizens was a campaign started by Citizens UK in 2008 calling for a regularisation for undocumented migrants. 

Strangers into Citizens called a two-year work permit to be available to migrants who could show they had been in the UK for four years or more. The proposals put forward by the campaign would give indefinite leave to remain at the end of a two-year period and provided a route to citizenship.

The campaign attempted to influence the policies of the political parties and candidates in both the 2008 London mayoral election and in the 2010 general election in the United Kingdom. During the London mayoral election, the campaign was endorsed by candidates including then Mayor of London, Boris Johnson

Strangers Into Citizens was also backed by senior Civil Society leaders including the then Archbishop of Westminster Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor.

The campaign led to 10,000s of people across the country being regularised and was paused in 2013 with campaigning shifting to making it easier and more affordable for children gain citizenship though the Children Into Citizens Campaign.

On his first day in office in July 2019 Prime Minister Boris Johnson reiterated his support for Strangers into Citizens saying, in response to a question from Rupa Haq MP:

“But I have to say I do think that our arrangements in theoretically being committed to the expulsion of perhaps half-a-million people who don’t have the correct papers and who may have been living and working here for many, many years without being involved in any criminal activity at all ... I think that the legal position is anomalous and we saw the difficulties that kind of problem occasioned in the Windrush fiasco.

We know the difficulties that can be caused and I do think, yes I’ll answer her directly, I do think we need to look at our arrangements for people who have lived and worked here for a long time unable to enter the economy, unable to participate properly or pay taxes without documents – we should look at it.”





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