Does anyone know of any foreign officers serving in the regs or TA? its quite common to see foreign nationals in the ranks. was just wondering if it was the same among officers. if so how do they find it and if not, why not?
Once had a West Indian with a cut glass accent commisioned into the RA who made Major. Was invited to resign over allegedly false 1771 claims. Went back to the WI's. So yes, foreign officers have served in the British Army [as opposed to exchange officers]
Correct. That is why we have a "Foreign and Commonwealth Office". Commonwealth citizens are treated as British subjects for almost all purposes except immigration (which doesn't apply to the armed forces anyway). So, once a Commonwealth citizen is admitted through immigration, he can vote, become an MP, Prime Minister, etc.
When I was at university, I remember an American friend who had to register with the local police as an alien, whereas his Indian roommate was a Commonwealth citizen and so didn't.
Wrong. He will still be a citizen of another country (Pakistan) and so will be in law a foreigner.
He will not be a British citizen (unless he goes on to acquire dual Pakistani and British nationality).
Although he will (as a Commonwealth citizen) be accorded certain rights which those categorised as "alien" do not enjoy, he will none the less be a foreigner.
The rights under English law which non-aliens enjoy are not exactly the same as those of British citizens.
What is a foreigner?
Except in rare cases, Commonwealth citizens are foreign, in the sense that they are citizens of their own country rather than Britain (unless they possess dual nationality). Irish citizens are not foreign.
"Foreign" in English law, when applied to a person, means "born outside the kingdoms of England, Scotland or Ireland or the dominions thereto belonging" (Act of Settlement 1700).
So people born in countries which are part of the Commonwealth but not the UK or Ireland, or a dominion still belonging to the UK, are foreign.
Non-aliens: the Irish and Commonwealth nationals
However, English law does treat Irish and Commonwealth citizens differently to the nationals of other countries. It includes them in that select group of lucky people who are not regarded as aliens. An alien is now defined in section 51(4) of the British Nationality Act 1981 as a person who is neither a Commonwealth citizen nor a British protected person nor a citizen of the Republic of Ireland.
Irish and Commonwealth citizens are specifically entitled to vote in UK elections, sit in Parliament, etc.
The important bit to note is that even though Commonwealth citizens enjoy almost the same bundle of rights as British citizens, their position is not identical. So although they are not alien, they are regarded differently to British citizens, and so there is an element of foreignness that separates them.
For instance, only British citizens (plus Commonwealth citizens who already had acquired it prior to 1983) have the right of abode in the UK. Irish and Commonwealth citizens who do not have the right of abode in the UK may enter and remain in the UK only if they are given leave to enter or remain. That leave may in certain circumstances be terminated and the non-citizen kicked out.
Also, in 1996 an amendment to the Civil Service Management Code was made to restrict Commonwealth and Irish nationals from being employed in posts which were reserved for UK nationals. This put Commonwealth citizens and Irish nationals in the same position as nationals of other member states of the European Economic Area - but different to UK nationals.
The common law position is set out in Calvin's case (160, which determined that a Scottish subject of King James VI & I born after he inherited the English crown could not be treated as an alien in England. Until 1949, this meant that Commonwealth citizens were simply British subjects, being all subjects of the same King.
The British Nationality Act 1948, which came into force in 1949, introduced the concept of Citizenship of the UK & Colonies (CUKC), but CUKCs and citizens of the other British Dominions remained British subjects. Schedule 4 of the Act repealed:
12 & 13 Will. 3. c. 2.
The Act of Settlement.
In section three, the words from "That after the said limitation shall take effect" to "in trust for him" so far as they relate to British subjects and citizens of Eire.
Around the same time, Eire became a republic and left the Commonwealth, and s. 2 of the Ireland Act 1949 provided:
It is hereby declared that, notwithstanding that the Republic of Ireland is not part of His Majestys dominions, the Republic of Ireland is not a foreign country for the purposes of any law in force in any part of the United Kingdom or in any colony, protectorate or United Kingdom trust territory, whether by virtue of a rule of law or of an Act of Parliament or any other enactment or instrument whatsoever, whether passed or made before or after the passing of this Act, and references in any Act of Parliament, other enactment or instrument whatsoever, whether passed or made before or after the passing of this Act, to foreigners, aliens, foreign countries, and foreign or foreign-built ships or aircraft shall be construed accordingly
In 1950, India became a republic, but was given permission to stay in the Commonwealth, so its citizens never ceased to be British subjects for the purposes of the 1948 Act, even though it was no longer part of His Majesty's dominions. The same applied to all subsequent Commonwealth republics and indigenous monarchies.
Under the British Nationality Act 1981, CUKCs were divided into British citizens, British Dependent Territories citizens and British Overseas citizens, and along with most other Commonwealth citizens ceased to be referred to as British subjects.
However, s. 50 of the Act provides:
alien means a person who is neither a Commonwealth citizen nor a British protected person nor a citizen of the Republic of Ireland; ...
foreign country means a country other than the United Kingdom, a British overseas territory, a country mentioned in Schedule 3 [i.e. an independent Commonwealth country] and the Republic of Ireland;
ACT OF SETTLEMENT (12 & 13 Will. 3. c. 2.)
In section 3, the words from That after the said limitation shall take effect to in trust for him(which impose certain disqualifications) shall not apply to Commonwealth citizens or citizens of the Republic of Ireland.
The provisions of the Immigration Act 1971 and the Civil Service Management Rules are merely specific exceptions to the general position, which is that Commonwealth citizens and citizens of the Republic of Ireland are not foreign and have full civil rights in the United Kingdom.
Ah, hammockhead, what larks. At least the two of us are having fun.
The trouble is, I think, that you are confusing the terms "alien" and "foreign". Their meaning is not identical.
To say "alien" equals "foreign" is just intellectual laziness. "Alien" is a subset of "foreign". There is a big group of people whom English law regards as foreign. Most of them are alien too. But some foreigners (Commonwealth and Irish citizens) are given special non-alien status. They are foreigners, though, so your statement about the Pakistani bloke is wrong.
You're on shaky ground, and you know it, when you say that the fact that citizens of Ireland and the Commonwealth may lawfully be kicked out of the United Kingdom and denied certain jobs are "mere exceptions" from some general rule that Commonwealth and Irish citizens are not foreign and have full civil rights in the UK. For one thing, those are pretty big exceptions and they prove that those people do not enjoy the same bundle of rights as British citizens. But secondly, even if (which I deny) they did have the same suite of rights, they would still be foreign - just treated the same.
Those are my main points. But for fun, here's the underlying analysis.
The bits of statute you quote support my view, not yours. The general rules, in light of which those statutes are drafted, are:
(a) The Rule about Foreign Countries: any country other than the United Kingdom and those bits of the world still ruled by Her Maj is a foreign country; and
(b) The Rule about People From Foreign Countries: for the purposes of immigration law, and not as a matter of law generally, (a) certain foreign countries are not deemed to be foreign and (b) certain foreigners are not alien.
Let's have a look at the parts of your post which support those two propositions.
1. The Rule About Foreign Countries
"Foreign equals not ruled by the monarch." This has always been the rule. As the Empire has shrunk, exceptions have had to be made.
Ireland Act 1949 said:
... notwithstanding that the Republic of Ireland is not part of His Majestys dominions, the Republic of Ireland is not a foreign country for the purposes of any law ...
Again, this is a definition which departs from the general rule (which is as I have stated it above) in order to enable the BNA to function as intended.
If the general rule were that Commonwealth countries and the Republic of Ireland were not foreign, then there would be no need for either the Ireland Act or British Nationality Act definitions.
2. The Rules About People From Foreign Countries
You seem to be saying that citizens of Ireland and the Commonwealth are, in English law, both (a) not foreign (and so are therefore British) and (b) entitled to the full suite of rights which British nationals enjoy. If that's right, then why aren't a billion Indians entitled to British passports? They're not - because they are foreign nationals in the broader sense.
The rules set out in the British Nationality Act 1981 and the Immigration Act 1971 describe those people's citizenship status and right to enter the UK. For the purposes of setting out the special nationality rules applying to Commonwealth countries, the phrase "a foreign country" is given a special meaning in the 1981 Act, to distinguish those countries from those less blessed.
But the fact that the 1981 Act regards Commonwealth countries and Ireland as not being foreign countries for Act's own limited purposes does not mean that their citizens are non-foreign (ie, British). They are foreign. So the Act has to make special provision for the fact that even though they are foreign, they are not to be treated as alien: hence, the definition of alien in the Act.