§ Mr. MORGAN JONES
asked the Home Secretary (1) how many applications for naturalisation are now pending in his Department; what steps are being taken to secure the early consideration of specially meritorious cases;
(2) and if he is prepared to facilitate the naturalisation of persons resident and carrying on business in this country who have special ability in the development of British export trade?
§ Mr. SHORTT
Owing to the accumulation of applications for certificates of naturalisation during and immediately after the War, there were in December, 1920, as I stated in answer to the question on the 2nd of that month, approximately 13,000 applications outstanding. Since that date 1,527 new applications have been received, and within the same period 1,685 cases have been disposed of. It is not possible to say how many of the remainder can properly be said to be "now pending," 659W as some 5,000 of them relate to former enemy aliens, who are barred from naturalisation by Section 3 (2) of the British Nationality and Status of Aliens Act, 1918, and many cases must have lapsed owing to the death or departure from this country of the applicants, or other causes.
Current applications, whether they are new or are revivals of old applications, are passed under review and dealt with as rapidly as is possible with the limited staff available, and without detriment to the more important public work of the Department. If any applicant submits any special reasons why his application should be expedited, the point is always considered, but it is not possible, generally speaking, to say when a particular application can be completed. Evidence that the naturalisation of a particular applicant would be of value or assistance towards the development of the British export trade would always be considered.