A huge surge in migrants claiming British citizenship is causing the delays at the passport office that are putting British nationals summer holidays at risk according to the Daily Mail.
A record 207,989 foreigners were granted British citizenship last year, up from 82,000 in the year 2000.
Only three percent of applicants for British citizenship were rejected last year, creating an enormous administrative burden on the immigration and the passport offices. Most applicants for citizenship apply for a passport as soon as they are given their British national status, leading to a huge surge in passport applications.
First time applicants for a passport are required to attend a face to face meeting with passport office staff, but this is hugely time consuming. Whistleblowers have told the Mail there are so many of these first time applicants that they are being pushed to the back of the queue to enable staff to get passports out to people born in the UK.
Despite this prioritisation there is still a backlog of 500,000 applications with the school holidays and the summer rush looming. The problems are so severe that the government has announced that people who have holidays booked can use the priority service for free. However many families have had to cancel plans because of delays in getting their passports.
The problems at the passport office, and the steep rise in naturalisation are creating a major headache for Home Secretary Theresa May. Mrs May has carved a reputation for herself as one of the first Home Secretaries not to have been politically ruined by the post, which is famously hard to do well. These problems are undermining her reputation ahead of a leadership bid she plans to mount if the Conservatives lose the 2015 election.
May is seen as a left-winger within the Conservatives. She coined the phrase “the nasty party” a label that Tory spin-doctors have found hard to shake off.