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Recent publications on citizenship laws and policies


Earning Rights: Economic Status and Access to Citizenship

By Claire Healy & David Reichel, ICMPD Working Paper 05, May 2013. 

Various EU member states include in their naturalisation framework some form of approximation of the concept defined by the UK government as “earned citizenship”, requiring that prospective citizens prove that they “deserve” national citizenship. In this article, we examine this concept of earning citizenship in the narrowest sense of the economic and employment stipulations that a number of countries apply in deciding who may be granted their national citizenship, and who may be granted EU Long-Term Resident (LTR) status. While much recent research has focused on the effects of naturalisation on immigrants’ economic and employment status ex post facto, this article will examine an earlier stage in the process to identify the extent to which new citizens and EU long-term residents have been pre-selected on the basis of their economic situation. The specificities of economic and employment requirements vary considerably among EU member states, but also, within states, the actual requirements in terms of jobs and income are generally not stipulated in the same way for LTR and national citizen status. Generally, more open access to citizenship indeed, as expected, leads to more naturalisations. More restricted access to citizenship may also have an impact on increasing acquisitions of LTR status, as the second-best option, though only in countries where the latter status is somewhat more accessible. The analysis indicates that economic and employment requirements my represent a particular obstacle in the context of member states with otherwise relatively open access to citizenship.

The Changing Role of Nationality in International Law

Edited by Serena Forlati, Alessandra Annoni, Routledge Research in International Law, 2013

The book explores the current role of nationality from the point of view of international law, reassessing the validity of the ‘classical’, state-centered, approach to nationality in light of the ‘new’ role the human being is gradually acquiring within the international legal order. In this framework, the collection assesses the impact of international human rights rules on the international discourse on nationality and explores the significance international (including private international) law attaches to the links individuals may establish with states other than that of nationality. The book weighs the significance of the bond of nationality in the context of regional integration systems, and explores the fields of international law in which nationality still plays a pivotal role, such as diplomatic protection and dispute settlement in international investment law. The collection includes contributions from legal scholars of different nationalities and academic backgrounds, and offers an excellent resource for academics, practitioners and students undertaking advanced studies in international law.

Rooted Cosmopolitans: Israelis with a European Passport – History, Property, Identity

By Yossi Harpaz, Princeton University. International Migration Review, Volume 47, Issue 1, pages 166–206, Spring 2013.

Over the past decade, a new and intriguing phenomenon developed in Israel: close to 60,000 Israelis applied for citizenship in the Central and Eastern European countries from which their families immigrated. Typically, these new dual citizens have no plans to “return” to Germany or Poland, nor do they feel any identification with their countries of origin. Instead, they are mainly interested in obtaining a “European Union passport” and in gaining potential access to the European common market. The paper presents statistics on this unconventional case of dual citizenship, surveys the historical and legal circumstances that produced it and uses material from interviews to explore the meanings and uses that European-Israeli dual citizens attribute to their European passports. Dual citizenship, the findings show, is used by Israelis in various and sometimes unexpected ways: as enhancer of economic opportunities, “insurance policy,” intergenerational gift, and even as an elitist status symbol. This modality of state belonging can be termed “passport citizenship”: Non-resident citizenship here is stripped of its national meaning and treated as an individual piece of property, which is embodied by the passport and obtained for pragmatic reasons.

Access the article on the International Migration Review website.

The integration needs of mobile EU citizens: Impediments and opportunities

By Elizabeth Collett, Migration Policy Institute Europe, Brussels, 2013

The right to free movement for all European Union citizens and the resulting mobility system represent one of the EU's signal achievements. The integration of mobile EU citizens has not been widely discussed, however, either at EU or national levels, and EU-level integration policies focus on the integration of legally residing third-country nationals.
The lifting of restrictions on movements of Bulgarian and Romanian nationals at year’s end is sparking concerns in some EU Member States over the costs of free movement on local budgets and national social security programmes. The question of who should be liable for the costs of integrating newcomers has also taken on new prominence; in Germany, the German Association of Cities recently called for additional federal financial support, saying municipalities face significant costs as a result of what it termed ‘poverty migration.’ And the Dutch government, outlining its most recent integration agenda, announced it will invest in policies facilitating the integration of mobile EU citizens.
A new Migration Policy Institute Europe report, The integration needs of mobile EU citizens: Impediments and opportunities, investigates the broad range of integration needs that exist in Europe and the role different actors, including employers, can play in meeting them. The topic is particularly relevant with respect to vulnerable groups such as minorities and the poverty-stricken.

The report, authored by MPI Europe Director Elizabeth Collett, outlines the near-equivalent set of legal and social rights that mobile EU citizens have compared to those of native residents in each EU country. While the strong rights framework enjoyed by these mobile citizens implies that the process of settling in is easier for those holding EU citizenship than for third-country nationals, the reality is typically more complex. Nationality makes little difference to the process of adapting to new languages, institutions, and social norms, and mobile EU citizens have many of the same integration needs as their third-country national counterparts—not least a need for language courses and orientation information concerning life in their new countries.

The report makes the case that EU citizens should more proactively be included in language and orientation courses on a voluntary basis. In addition, there is a critical need to improve the knowledge base, particularly for local actors, so that public services such as education and health can adapt according to need.

The MPI Europe report is the second of two studies examining labour mobility in the European Union; the first provides a detailed assessment of intra-EU mobility trends and drivers, and examines the evidence on the economic and social impact of free movement on origin and destination countries.

You can download the report.

For more information on MPI Europe and its research publications, visit www.mpieurope.org.

Study for the feasibility of a legal instrument in the field of nationality law and families (including the promotion of acquisition of citizenship)

By Alenka Prvinšek Persoglio and the International Center for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD), Council of Europe, Strasbourg, 2012


Over the past years, there has been a notable increase in attention paid to legal issues in relation to the family dimension of loss and acquisition of nationality in Council of Europe member states. These are numerous and of considerably complexity. These legal issues are a result of the combined effects of demographic changes in Europe, such as increasing levels of mobility, decreasing fertility, increasing life expectation, changing family norms and practices as well as legal and policy responses to all these issues.

Download the full report.