Amidst the din surrounding migration in the UK, information released by Eurostat, the EU’s statistical office, reveals that UK granted citizenship to the highest number of migrants in the year 2012.
In 2012, the EU granted citizenship to 818,000 individuals with six countries, the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, and Sweden accounting for around 75% of all new citizens. The UK permitted close to 194,000 migrants to become citizens, which is around 24% of the total number of citizenship granted.
Germany accounted for 14% of all new citizens while France and Spain accounted for around 11.5% of all new citizens each. Italy’s share of new citizens was around 8% while Sweden was the last significant contributor with 6% of all new citizens.
The UK’s share is attributed to its role in the Commonwealth, which is probably the reason why maximum number of new UK citizens were from India followed by Pakistan. Citizens of these two countries from the Asian sub-continent were issued around 26% of all UK citizenships. Nigerians and citizens of Philippines were other significant applicants for the UK citizenship with allocation at around 4.6% and 4.2% respectively.
Highlighting that UK’s share has risen despite the Home Office taking steps to cut immigration and make citizenship tougher to obtain, an official at the Migration Observatory at Oxford University opined that the combination of Britain’s history and its current immigration policies makes it an attractive destination for citizens of other Commonwealth countries. Indians and Pakistanis often have members of their family or community residing in the UK, which makes it a logical destination for those seeking better opportunities in foreign countries.
However, it remains to be seen whether UK will continue to lead the list of EU countries offering citizenships to migrants. The Home Office emphasized that citizenship of the UK was a privilege that must be earned by demonstrating clearly that the applicant is prepared to integrate into the UK society. As part of its policy to make grant of citizenship tougher, all applicants are now required to clear the revised “Life in the UK” and the English speaking and listening tests.
Referring to the 2012 data, the Home Office clarified that the high number was due to the lenient immigration policies that existed prior to 2010. Since then, the UK has struck down hard on migration and has introduced policies to deter those trying to abuse the migration system in the UK.
The data clearly shows that the UK, apart from EU migrants, is a hot destination for non EU migrants as well.
While the UK topped the list, Spain witnessed an 18% reduction in the number of applications for citizenship from migrants. Spain witnessed a fall in demand for citizenship while demand for EU citizenship as a whole witnessed a 4.8% rise in 2012. The ratio of new citizens to existing inhabitants too feel sharply to two foreigners per 1000 inhabitants while the ratio for the EU is 16 foreign citizens for every 1000 inhabitants.
In 2012, Spain granted citizenship to around 94,000 foreigners, a steep fall from the 114,600 applications received in 2011. Spain’s prolonged economic meltdown and consequent rise in unemployment, now at around 24%, has led to many foreign migrants shifting back home. More than 30% of new Spanish citizens in 2012 came from Ecuador with another17%, 10%, and 9% citizens coming from Colombia, Morocco, and Peru.
On the whole, the EU became younger in 2012 with the average age of a new EU citizen pegged at 31 years. More than a third of the new citizens of the EU were aged less than 25 years, which indicates that the EU is a popular destination for young migrants.
Source: www.bbc.comGeneral Information: Contact us to receive more information about this article.
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