Doubling of Britons getting citizenship elsewhere in EU

Official figures reveal the number of Britons seeking citizenship in other EU nations has increased by more than 150 per cent.

UK passports
The number of UK nationals acquiring citizenship in other European Union countries more than doubled in 2016 – the year of the Brexit referendum – according to official figures from the Eurostat bureau in Brussels.

Britons seeking citizenship from EU nations

A total of 6,555 applications were approved in 2016, a 165 per cent increase on the 2,478 granted the year before. Germany was the most popular nation with 2,702 Britons taking citizenship there, more than four times the number in 2015.Paul Butters, spokesman for the anti-Brexit campaign group Best for Britain, said, “We are seeing a Brexodus of people giving up their passports and rushing to take citizenship in EU countries as Brexit draws near.“People have done this to give themselves some security. This should make (Brexit Secretary) David Davis ashamed that people feel they have no option but to give up their citizenship or apply to be a dual national. These people are giving up part of their identity to try and secure their future.‘The government don’t seem to care and their only interest is their ill advised ‘tens of thousands’ immigration target. The government dragged their feet over EU citizens’ rights and this is the real life manifestation of their tactics. The government should be incredibly embarrassed today.”
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Brexit migration trends expected to continue

Jonathan Portes, professor of economics at King’s College, London, added, “The increase in Britons acquiring the nationality of other EU countries is obviously driven by the prospect of Brexit, which is very likely to make UK citizenship much less useful for working, living and travelling elsewhere in the EU. It would be very surprising if this trend did not continue.”The data also showed that the number of people seeking British citizenship in 2016 rose by 27 per cent to 149,372 while, across the EU as a whole, the total acquiring nationality in member states stood at 995,000, up from 841,000 in 2015.Italy, Spain, the UK, France and Germany accounted for 74 per cent of the total, which had a median age of 31. Some 40 per cent were younger than 25 with the largest number acquiring citizenship coming from Morocco (101,300), followed by Albania (67,500), India (41,700) and Pakistan (32,900).The number of citizenships granted in all 28 EU states increased in all but three nations, with the largest decrease being recorded in Ireland, where the total fell from 13,565 in 2015 to 10,038 in 2016.However, Eurostat only counts the number of citizenships actually granted – figures compiled by the BBC last September showed that, in the 12 months before the referendum, 25,207 Britons had applied for Irish passports while, in the 12 months directly after the vote, the total rose to 64,400.The Radio 4 report added, “Sharp increases have also been seen elsewhere. In Spain, where some applicants have to give up their British citizenship because dual nationality is not allowed in all cases, the numbers rose from 2,300 before the referendum to 4,558 after.”The Guardian reported on Tuesday that the Eurostat figures coincided with claims from the campaign the3million, which lobbies on behalf of the three million-plus EU citizens living in the UK, that more than 120 questions about the future rights of EU citizens in the UK remain unanswered by the Home Office.

Registration of EU citizens

Ahead of a meeting next week between the group and Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes, Nicholas Hatton, the3million founder, accused ministers of failing to provide detail even though they are planning to start registering EU citizens for a new immigration status from September. “The list of questions shows the huge gap between the claim that citizens’ rights are done and dusted and the reality for EU citizens still waiting for answers, 655 days after the Brexit referendum,” he said.The questions include queries over the appeals process, children’s rights, communications plans and protection from the ‘hostile environment policy’ the Home Office operates for migrants it wants to deport. The group also wants to know what protections are planned for EU citizens in the event of Home Office errors.Last year, the government was forced to apologise after mistakenly sending out deportation letters to around 100 EU citizens.For related news and features, visit our Brexit section. Find out more about our upcoming Relocate AwardsRelocate’s new Global Mobility Toolkit provides free information, practical advice and support for HR, global mobility managers and global teams operating overseas.Global Mobility Toolkit download factsheets resource centreAccess hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online DirectoryClick to get to the Relocate Global Online Directory 

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