IRB – Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (Author)
An immigration official with the British
High Commission in Ottawa provided the following information in a 6
March 1995 telephone interview. The official stated that there is
no specific category called "Commonwealth Status" under UK
The official indicated that those
Commonwealth citizens with a British-born grandparent are eligible
to work in the UK for a four-year period. A Commonwealth citizen
can apply for this status overseas, or while as a visitor in the UK
via the Home Office. Citizens from India are recognized as
The official also indicated that
Commonwealth citizens between the ages of 17 and 27 may be eligible
for "working holiday" status, which grants the individual a
two-year work permit. Usually this status is granted to Australian
or Canadian citizens, the latter through the
Student-Work-Abroad-Program (SWAP). A Commonwealth citizen can
apply for this status overseas, or while as a visitor in the UK via
the Home Office. Since October 1994 "working holiday" status is
calculated continuously, whether or not the holder remains in the
UK for the two-year validity period of the permit. Previously, a
"working holiday" permit-holder could "bank" the amount of time
spent outside the UK, by applying for an extension to his/her
permit corresponding to the period spent outside of the UK.
The official added that a person accepted
into the UK under either category described above could make a
refugee claim while in the UK, and would be allowed to remain in
the UK until the claim was heard.
For additional information, please consult
the excerpts from JCWI Immigration and Nationality Law Handbook
1992, attached to this response.
This response was prepared after
researching publicly accessible information currently available to
the DIRB within time constraints. This response is not, and does
not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular
claim to refugee status or asylum.
High Commission of the United Kingdom of
Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Ottawa. 6 March 1995. Telephone
interview with immigration official.
Shutter, Sue. 1992. JCWI Immigration
and Nationality Law Handbook 1992. London: Joint Council for
the Welfare of Immigrants. Pp. 95-97; 100-107; 152-159;