July 30, 2017
EU nationals are faced with the prospect of losing their original identity to instead apply for a British passport because their countries have banned dual citizenship.
This means people from Austria, the Netherlands, Lithuania, Norway, Estonia, Poland and Slovakia living in the UK would be forced to renounce their original citizenship.
The uncertainty has arisen after Theresa May announced details of her immigration proposal as part of the Brexit negotiations.
Earlier this year, the prime minister said she would let 3.2 million EU citizens stay in Britain after Brexit. The deal allows EU nationals who have lived in Britain for five years to apply for "settled status".
However, despite a lengthy process, a number of Europeans living in the UK are considering applying for British nationality to secure their future after March 2019.
It comes after the Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte warned people that taking a British passport meant they would give up their Dutch passport, with the Government launching a campaign to explain the risk to citizens living abroad.
This prompted 22,000 Dutch nationals to launch a petition demanding the law be relaxed following Brexit.
But Mr Rutte insisted: “The possession of nationality is always linked to the existence of an actual and effective relationship with a particular country.”
Political commentator Paul Quigley told Express.co.uk that EU nationals should lobby their parliaments to accept dual citizenship.
He said: “If those nations' Constitutions bar their citizens from holding the nationality of another nation, then clearly it is a domestic concern for them and they need to lobby their own Parliaments to go through the democratic process to argue for their nations to permit dual nationality.
“These people will need to do this in their country of birth to make the changes they need to make in their home nations.”
He added: “I think they'd be very fortunate indeed to even have the opportunity to become a British national.
“If that opportunity presents itself to these European nationals, then it is up to them what they decide to do in their own self-interest.
In Poland citizens are not allowed dual citizenship, however the government tolerates a person holding two passports.
Meanwhile, Lithuania is looking to introduce a bill which would see citizens allowed to keep their Baltic passports.
While in Austria, dual citizenship is illegal.
Denmark is the latest country to allow dual citizenship, after a new law was introduced in 2015.
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