More migrants given UK citizenship

Published: Wednesday 19th November 2014 by The News Editor

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Britain granted more migrants citizenship in 2012 than any other country in the European Union, official figures have revealed.

Records released by Brussels showed that 193,900 people were granted UK passports over the year – nearly one in four of those issued across all member states.

Most of those were given to people from India, 14.6%, followed by Pakistan on 9.5%, Nigeria on 4.6% and the Philippines on 4.2%.

The Home Office insisted British citizenship was a “privilege, not a right” and blamed the figures on “uncontrolled” levels of immigration under the last Labour government.

Around three quarters of the 818,000 new citizenships in the EU were granted in just six countries, according to Eurostat, the union’s statistical office.

Britain topped the list with 23.7%, followed by Germany on 14%, France on 11.7%, Spain on 11.5%, Italy on 8% and Sweden on 6.1%.

Luxembourg had the highest rate a new citizens for the size of population with 8.7% for every 1,000 residents.

Carlos Vargas-Silva, deputy director of the Migration Observatory at Oxford University told The Times: “The UK is the leader in terms of people acquiring citizenship in the EU and one of the reasons this is happening is because of the Commonwealth.

“In the UK you have migration from the Commonwealth countries and they come to join established networks and families so they want to acquire citizenship”.

The average age of new EU citizens was 31 and more than a third were under 25.

A Home Office spokesman said: “British citizenship is a privilege, not a right and we expect those wishing to settle here to demonstrate they are ready and able to integrate into society.

“This government has made the acquisition of citizenship harder and all applicants are required to pass both the new, revised Life in the UK test and have the relevant English language speaking and listening qualification.

“The high volume of applications in 2012 is largely a result of the uncontrolled levels of immigration in the years before 2010. We are reducing and controlling immigration, building an immigration system that is fair to British citizens and legitimate migrants and tough on those who abuse the system or flout the law.”

Published: Wednesday 19th November 2014 by The News Editor

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