I work in Reward, so I'm not too au fait with employment law, and am hoping someone can help me. My husband has dual nationality, Italian and South African. He works in IT security and as part of his role often works on high security customer sites (MoD, BAE, etc). He is security cleared, but sometimes the customer has a requirement that only British nationals are allowed on site. This is posing a bit of a problem for him at times, so his manager has asked that he look into applying for British nationality.
My question is: is this ethical/legal of his employer to ask him to do something which is a personal choice? He was hired on the basis he's an EU citizen and can therefore work in the country, so this is a new requirement that's come up. There may also be the chance that he has to give up both Italian and South African for British, as some customers will only work with him if he has one nationality.....
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Firstly, I have to admit to no specific experience in the IT security industry. However I have a couple of thoughts that you might find useful:
You've said that "his manager has asked that he look into applying for British nationality", which is different to an employer demanding it. No employer could insist an employee change their nationality.
However I wonder if, regardless of your husband having EU citizenship, there aren't exceptions to the EU's ' free movement' rules when it comes to national security - i.e. the UK's Ministry of Defence may be allowed to insist, for some work, that their staff are British? If that is the case, perhaps your husbands manager is simply trying to suggest a solution to the problem? My advice would be that your husband find out exactly why "sometimes the customer has a requirement that only British nationals are allowed on site", because that's the key issue here.
Ultimately it's your husbands choice, and even if he chooses to apply, I've no idea how easy it would be for him to succeed.
Hope this helps,
Illegitimi non carborundum
© 2010 Reed Business Information Ltd.