Number of Brits Obtaining German Citizenship Surges Amid Brexit Fears
AP Photo / Kirsty WigglesworthEurope14:32 23.05.2018(updated 14:33 23.05.2018) Get short URL
The uncertainty Brexit has brought about, especially with EU-UK negotiations making little headway, is pushing Brits to consider and prepare for all eventualities, including the prospect of a “hard Brexit” scenario, which could see them lose their right to live and work in the union.
The number of British citizens who were granted German citizenship increased by 162 percent in 2017 relative to the previous year, according to data published on Wednesday by Germany’s Federal Statistics Office, as cited by the Reuters news agency.
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Over 7,000 UK citizens applied for and were successfully issued German passports in 2017, off the back of a 361 percent rise in 2016 relative to the previous year.
In its report released on May 23, the statistics agency said that Brits were the second largest group to be granted German citizenship in 2017, behind Turks, and claimed that a “link to Brexit is obvious.”
Brits typically need to reside in Germany for at least eight years before they can apply for citizenship, and the process can take over six months.
Despite negotiations yielding some progress on the terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the bloc, such as the agreeing of the transition period’s end date, many crucial matters remain unresolved, increasing the likelihood of a “hard Brexit.”
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The prospect of the UK leaving the EU without a post-Brexit deal in place is what’s driving the increase in demand for German citizenship by Brits, according to the German Federal Statistics Office.
Via a nationwide referendum in mid-2016, the UK electorate voted to leave the bloc, with just over half of votes cast in favor of such a withdrawal.
Pro-EU politicians and campaigners have repeatedly called for another referendum to be held, but this seems unlikely for now, though staunch brexiteers have accused Prime Minister Theresa May of attempting to hinder the UK’s complete withdrawal from the union by keeping it in the EU customs union.