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EU expats in new rush for UK citizenship

04 December 2017

The number of EU nationals applying for British citizenship has more than doubled in the year since the Brexit referendum, according to official figures. EU applications for citizenship on the rise

In the year to September, 32,856 people from other EU nations applied for citizenship, an increase from 15,766 in the previous 12 months – a rise of more than 108 per cent. Meanwhile, the number of people from elsewhere in the world seeking citizenship fell by 17 per cent to 104,430 over the same period. It meant that applications from EU nationals accounted for almost a quarter of the 137,286 registrations over the 12 months, compared to just 11 per cent in the year ending September 2016.

Poles were by far the largest number of EU citizens applying for citizenship, with 7,163 registering in the latest period, but there was a surge in applications – from 6,244 to 16,164 – from expats from the 14 longer-term member states, including Italy, France and Germany.

“Increases in applications from EU nationals in recent years are likely to reflect immigration in earlier years while the most recent rise may be partly due to the impact of rule changes and recent events,” said the Home Office. “Variations in numbers of decisions can be affected by changes in resources and the mix of cases, as well as policy changes and application levels in earlier periods.”

Home office committed to simplifying citizenship application process

Prof Jonathan Portes, professor of economics and public police at King’s College, London, said, “There has been a dramatic rise in the number of EU citizens applying for both resident status and citizenship. This is hardly surprising given the post-Brexit uncertainty about their future rights.

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