In several European countries, access to citizenship via naturalisation is conditional upon the payment of substantial fees or upon proof of a certain degree of economic self-sufficiency. Thus, if not acquired by birth, citizenship as political membership depends on the economic performance of an individual. In this article, economic criteria for naturalisation (income, employment, welfare benefit requirements and naturalisation fees) were scrutinised in nine EU countries (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom) over the period from 1985 to 2014. After describing their empirical variation, the article investigates in which contexts they are more or less strongly developed. The study finds that naturalisation fees in particular have increased over time. Differences in economic criteria for naturalisation can be explained by the long-term power of far-right parties and by immigration rates, while other institutional, structural and political factors have only very limited explanatory power.
Publication details and link to source: Jeremias Stadlmair, Earning citizenship. Economic criteria for naturalisation in nine EU countries, Journal of Contemporary European Studies, 2018