Brexit causes record number of Britons to be granted German citizenship

DW – Britons are rushing to become German citizens before their country leaves the European Union. More than 10 times as many Britons became German citizens in 2017 than in 2015.

A record number of Britons became German citizens for the second year running, the German Federal Statistical Office reported on Wednesday.

The consecutive record has been linked to Britain’s upcoming departure from the European Union. “A link with the upcoming Brexit is obvious,” Germany’s statistics office Destatis said.

About 7,500 Britons were granted German citizenship in 2017 —more than double the record set in the previous year.

The 2017 figure eclipses the 2015 number, when 622 pre-referendum Britons gained German citizenship.

Second biggest country

A total of 112,200 foreigners were granted German citizenship in 2017, the most since 2013 and a 1.7-percent increase on the previous year.

The largest contingent of foreign naturalizations came from Turkey (14,984), followed by Britain, Poland (6,613), Italy (4,256) and Romania (4,238).

The new citizens from Britain are on average almost 53 years old, significantly older than other naturalized persons (34.8 years).

About 9 percent of 2017’s naturalized Britons acquired German citizenship from abroad.

“These are mainly people who were expatriated during the National Socialist era and their descendants,” the office explained.

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