The intergenerational impact of naturalisation reforms: the citizenship status of children of immigrants in the Netherlands, 1995–2016

For many children of immigrants to Europe, being born in a European country does not give them rights of citizenship. To acquire citizenship of the country of their birth, they typically rely on their parents’ naturalisation. While many European countries have tightened requirements for citizenship over recent decades, the impact of new regulations on immigrants’ children propensity to naturalise has gone largely unexplored. This paper analyses the impact of two restrictive legislative changes in the Netherlands: the re-introduction of a dual citizenship restriction in 1997, and the introduction of civic integration requirements in 2003. Using register data and event-history models, we analyse the acquisition of Dutch citizenship by children born in the Netherlands between 1995 and 2010 to immigrant parents. We find that the dual citizenship restriction puts families off naturalising while mandatory civic integration sees them postpone naturalisation. The intergenerational impact of naturalisation reforms is also reflected in the extent to which both parents are involved in the naturalisation process. Children eligible under stricter requirements are more likely to naturalise with one parent instead of both, in contrast to earlier eligibility cohorts. These findings shed light on key family dynamics in the acquisition of host country citizenship.

 

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