2018: a year in citizenship

Throughout 2018, citizenship has been one of the most ubiquitous topics of political debate in a number of countries. In January the Austrian and the Italian governments entered into a spat over the possibility to offer Austrian citizenship to German and Ladin speaking people living in the region of South Tyrol. In May the United Kingdom government was embroiled in a scandal over the rights of Commonwealth citizens who arrived in the UK in the period after the Second World War. And in October, the US President Donald Trump said he will try to end the right to U.S. citizenship for babies born in the United States to non-citizens. While being a burning topic in the political discourse, the way countries regulate their membership has remained largely intact. In fact, there have been only a few changes to citizenship legislation between January 2018 and January 2019. We have mapped these reforms. Read More …

The local citizenship crisis in Switzerland

Swiss municipalities face what can be called a local citizenship crisis. They struggle to recruit people, especially young ones, who want to hold public office – even though according to a new study one in five young citizens would be ready to be engaged in local politics. Among the proposed remedies are the introduction of candidacy rights for non-citizens as well as for citizens not residing in the municipality. The proposals highlight the strongly republican character of citizenship in Switzerland. Read More …

Investor citizenship and refusal as political practice of states and non-citizens

In the context of citizenship, ‘refusal’ can have both a state dimension and an individual one. It creates populations whose rights are limited domestically or internationally, either through their own volition or by deliberate state action. While in these cases investor citizenship can indeed serve the instrumental purpose of attributing a status it remains a highly problematic practice. Read More …

Ius Soli: a French constitutional principle?

Since 2008, the archives of the Conseil constitutionnel (the French constitutional court) must be disclosed after a period of twenty-five years. The centre-piece of these archives is the verbatim of the judges’ deliberation. The recent release of the deliberations of the major decision of 20 July 1993 shows new aspects about nationality law in France. Notably, some of these (no longer) secret discussions of the judges suggest that ius soli, while currently only included in ordinary law, could also become an unwritten constitutional principle. Read More …

The revival of denaturalisation under the Trump administration

In 1967, the United States Supreme Court put an end to the U.S. government’s aggressive denaturalisation campaigns, declaring in Afroyim v. Rusk that denaturalisation for any reason other than fraud or mistake violated the U.S. Constitution. More than fifty years later, the Trump administration has resurrected denaturalisation by broadly defining fraud and mistake, as well as by seeking to remove citizenship through the civil system, under which the target has few procedural protections. Read More …

What’s in the EC’s report on investor citizenship?

On 23 January, the European Commission published its long-awaited Report on Investor Citizenship Schemes. The report is accompanied by a Commission Staff Working Document, which provides definitions of investor residence and citizenship programmes, as well as an overview of policies applicable across the 28 European Union (EU) Member States. On the basis of an empirical study of investor citizenship and residence schemes in the EU, the report calls for due regard of EU law in national citizenship policies, especially regarding the link between residence and physical presence, common standards for security checks, and enhanced oversight of intermediaries involved in acquisition of citizenship and residence by investment. Read More …

No longer the ‘last man standing’: Norway decides to allow dual citizenship

On December 6 2018, the Norwegian Parliament decided to allow dual citizenship, bringing the country back in line with its Nordic neighbors. The decision breaks with the historical tradition of singular citizenship, but was already proposed by the current conservative Government in its political platform in 2017. The fact that it was a conservative government that proposed the amendment of the Nationality law is testament to a changing rationale for the introduction of dual citizenship in the Nordic region, where retainment of citizenship for emigrants and national security issues are key arguments. The amendment is expected to enter into force in 2020. Read More …

Citizenship in Africa: The Law of Belonging

The content of citizenship laws can be politically controversial in any country. African states, whose borders were, for the most part, arbitrarily created at the stroke of a pen in Berlin in 1885, have particular challenges. The 1964 decision of the newly formed Organisation of African Unity to respect those borders committed the continent to the task of moulding the colonial units into legitimate political communities. Read More …

Citizens’ Rights in the UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement: Ossifying EU citizenship as a juridical status?

On Sunday 25th November 2018, the European Council gave its political blessing to the draft of the Withdrawal Agreement whereby the United Kingdom will leave the European Union. From the outset of negotiations, the European Council identified protecting the rights of UK nationals in EU Member States and EU nationals in the United Kingdom as a priority in its guidelines. These efforts have culminated in Part II of the Agreement. This post will provide a brief overview of the substance of these provisions, and the mechanisms that have been established to ensure their enforcement. Read More …

In Australia, the latest citizenship-stripping plan risks statelessness, indefinite detention and constitutional challenge

This week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton announced the federal government’s intention to introduce changes to Australia’s citizenship-stripping laws. The proposed changes would likely make Australia’s regime for citizenship-stripping the most expansive in the world. I’ll outline how the proposal would change the current law, and analyse its key elements. Read More …