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13 McGill L. J. 494 (1967)
Restrictive Citizenship Policies within the Commonwealth

handle is hein.journals/mcgil13 and id is 496 raw text is: Restrictive Citizenship Policies
Within the Commonwealth
Walter W. Toxey *
Citizenship laws of the Commonwealth member countries provide
evidence of two contrary developments in the last two decades:
liberalization by the United Kingdom and restrictiveness by the
former colonial areas. That there is racial exclusiveness in the
older members, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, is well known.'
That the newer Afro-Asian members have established highly
restrictive citizenship laws is less widely recognized. Since 1948
the citizenship law of the United Kingdom has become a model of
liberality.2 Among other lenient provisions it permits multiple
nationality in that the acquisition of another nationality by adult
Britons does not cause forfeiture of British nationality.3 Moreover,
British law contains the common clause recognizing citizens of
other Commonwealth countries (and also those of the Republic of
Ireland) as British subjects and not aliens in the United Kingdom.4
British subjects, or Commonwealth citizens, may acquire United
Kingdom citizenship by the relatively simple procedure of registration
rather than naturalization, which is required of aliens seeking British
The rapid expansion of the Commonwealth since the end of
the Second World War has produced a multi-racial association
whose member states exhibit varying degrees of development. As
each new member has achieved independence, it has tended to assert
its individuality by modifying various institutions borrowed from
the United Kingdom. For example, the relative positions of the
* Department of Government, Louisiana State University in New Orleans.
1 As in American law before 1965, this has been secured by restrictive
immigration policies.
2 The British Nationality Act, 1948 (11 & 12 Geo. 6 c. 56) as amended.
3 Sect. 19. Amplified in Regulation No. 11, Nationality Regulations, 1948.
4 Sect. 1. Under the provisions of the Ireland Act, 1949 (12, 13 & 14 Geo. 6 c.
41), the Republic of Ireland is not a foreign country in the eyes of United
Kingdom citizenship laws. Also see Report of the Royal Commission on Population.
Cmd. 7695, 1950.
5 Sect. 6. Broad ministerial discretion to waive registration requirements is
granted in Sect. 3, British Nationality Act, 1958 (6 & 7 Eliz. 2 c. 10).

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