Record number of British Citizens take German citizenship after Brexit

A record number of British Citizens have chosen to become German citizens in the wake of Brexit.

Germany’s statistics office said on Tuesday that the number of British Citizens who took German citizenship spiked by 361% in 2016 to 2,865. “There appears to be a link with Brexit,” the agency said in a statement.

Foreigners are eligible to be Naturalised in Germany after living in the country for at least eight years. They must also have adequate knowledge of German and pay an application fee.

The trend is not limited to Germany. The number of British Citizens applying for foreign passports shot up after the country voted last June to leave the European Union. When the U.K. leaves the EU — probably in March 2019 — its citizens are likely to lose the automatic right to live and work in the remaining 27 member countries. They could also face new restrictions on travel.

Italy, Sweden, Poland and Hungary all reported a surge in citizenship interest in the days immediately after the Brexit vote. Ireland’s foreign ministry reported in January that passport applications from the U.K. surged 41% in the wake of the referendum. Nearly 65,000 British applications were submitted in total.

The British passport has traditionally been considered one of the most powerful in the world, giving holders a huge amount of global mobility.

But it has lost some of its lustre.

The U.K. also appears to be becoming a less attractive place for Europeans. Since the referendum, many have chosen to return home.

U.K. government data released in May shows that 117,000 citizens of other EU countries left Britain in 2016-an increase of 36% from the previous year. Net migration from the EU fell to 133,000 last year from 184,000 in 2015.

EU migrants are leaving because of uncertainty over their legal status, slower economic growth and higher prices.

The slump in the value of the pound — down 15% since the Brexit referendum — and stagnating real wages have made salaries earned in the U.K. worth less when transferred abroad.

— Claudia Otto contributed reporting.

Source: CNNMoney (London)
First published June 13, 2017: 12:31 PM ET