Nearly 900 stateless children forced to pay UK citizenship fees. (Photo by Dinendra Haria/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Nearly half of citizenship applications made for children last year came from those whose parents are from Commonwealth backgrounds, figures show.

Data obtained following a freedom of information request by the community group Citizens UK showed that 46 per cent of the 39,000 citizenship applications came from children who have Commonwealth connections, reported The Guardian.

Children of Indian origin accounted for nearly 5000 applications, followed by those from Nigeria and Pakistan.

About 9,000 applications were made by children originally from EU countries.

Figures also showed that nearly 900 classified as stateless were asked to pay the Home Office immigration fee as part of their application to become British citizens.

MPs and campaigners have criticised the charges levied on children.

Stuart Tannock, a sociology professor who works with Citizens UK, was quoted as saying by The Guardian that “access to British citizenship is vital if children are to play a full role in our society and reach their potential. These children have already met the strict criteria and have a legal right to British citizenship, but they cannot access their papers because of the unaffordable £1,012 fee.

“Without citizenship, the government risks leaving children unable to attend university, get a job, or even without a nationality at all. We are urging the Home Office to reduce the cost of citizenship so these young people can have a bright future in the country they call home.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “To reduce the burden on UK taxpayers, fee levels take into account the wider costs involved in running our border, immigration and citizenship system, so that those who directly benefit from it contribute to its funding. The home secretary has committed to keeping fees under review.”