Figures show jump in UK nationals acquiring citizenship in other EU states

Citizenship grants to UK nationals by other EU countries more than doubled in 2017, new figures show.

In 2016, the year of the Brexit vote, 6,555 UK citizens acquired citizenship of one of the bloc’s 27 other member states.

The number increased to 14,911 in the following 12 months, a rise of 127%.

Germany granted citizenship to the largest numbers of UK nationals in 2017, with 6,851, followed by France (1,733), Belgium (1,381) and the Netherlands (1,248).

UK nationals acquiring citizenship of other EU countries
UK nationals acquiring citizenship of other EU countries

Jonathan Portes, professor of economics at King’s College London, said the rise “clearly reflects Brexit worries”.

He added: “What we don’t know is how many of these are people already living elsewhere in the EU who are worried about their rights to live, work and retire; and how many are ordinary British residents trying to keep their ‘free movement’ rights for the future.”

The figures for 2017, published by the EU’s statistics agency Eurostat, showed that around 825,000 people acquired citizenship of an EU country, down from just under one million in the previous year.

Moroccans, Albanians, Indians, Turks, Romanians, Pakistanis, Poles and Brazilians together accounted for about a third (34%) of the total number who obtained citizenship of an EU member state.

Romanians, Poles and UK nationals were the three largest groups of EU citizens acquiring citizenship of another EU country.

According to the statistics, the UK granted citizenship to around 123,000 individuals in 2017, a fall of 18% compared with the previous year.