I have recently been offered a job with a government organisation in the UK. I was hired through a job agency, and one of the requirements is to be a UK national which I am. I got offered the job, and the past weeks have been a mess of getting security clearance. (I lived in multiple countries in the past making police checks for each of them very difficult). Now all of a sudden I received a phone call saying they've retracted the offer because I have also Italian citizenship. This is very shocking as I filled a form stating clearly i was a dual citizen before even attending the interview for the job itself. Can they do this?

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    Somewhat unprofessional I believe, but yes, they can do this – Atizs Aug 21 '19 at 14:38
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    Maybe it was not a key factor but one of the factors, last one. Did you get your clearance score ? Maybe dual citizenship bough your score lower than needed and the explanation stated that information – Strader Aug 21 '19 at 15:39
  • If I remember correctly, national security clearances in the UK are processed by the United Kingdom Security Vetting agency which provides only a yes/no answer to your potential employer, so although they may have collected the completed forms from you and sent them to UKSV they won't know the exact reason your clearance was denied. Certainly I wouldn't expect your job agency to be told that. I think it is likely they are assuming your Italian citizenship is the reason. – Andy Hames Aug 22 '19 at 12:42

In general your citizenship should not be a factor in job recruitment. But in a government job requiring security clearance your citizenship is absolutely a factor they can take into consideration.

One of the things that a secure government job requires is that your primary allegiance be to the UK. Let's say in the course of your job you find something that the UK government does not want the Italian government to know. The need to know that you will absolutely consider it your duty NOT to tell the Italian government about it - and also that the Italian government cannot put pressure on you to tell them.

So the second part is why they didn't tell you this when you applied. Being a dual citizen does not exclude you 100% - and it's also possible that the people interviewing you did not know whether being dual citizen would exclude you.

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    Being a dual or multi-national may be a bar to a position which requires access to "Five Eyes" data, or whatever the UK has which might be equivalent to the US version of "No Foreigners". To the best of my knowledge, my father remained a dual national, despite working on really classified stuff. But it also explains why he wasn't at all keen on my getting Canadian citizenship through him. TL;DR - Positions requiring clearances can be challenging. – Julie in Austin Aug 21 '19 at 14:50
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    You can probably thank Brexit for that retraction. A dual citizenship within the EU is routine, but if the UK does go ahead and secede, that puts a security clearance in a whole different light – user90842 Aug 21 '19 at 16:47
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    @GeorgeM And given the general state of Brexit preparations, it's quite possible that their policy on dual EU citizens changed between when OP applied and when their clearance got rejected. – Geoffrey Brent Aug 22 '19 at 11:56
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    If the policy relates to Brexit it will probably change again in a few weeks. – DJClayworth Aug 22 '19 at 12:44
  • @DJClayworth - It will probably also change tommorow. – Donald Aug 22 '19 at 23:11

Usually these jobs have a clause in the contract that denial of the government security clearance can terminate the contract.

Most of the time companies are aware of the common requirements of a security clearance, e.g. only nationals of countries x, y, z, so they hire accordingly.

Nonetheless there can be issues, which the company doesn't know, but causes the government agency to deny the clearance. Therefore they have this clause in their contracts.

So unfortunately this is bad luck, but there isn't really anything you can do about it.

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