With rising requirements for citizenship across Western Europe, Denmark is one of the restrictive ‘leaders,’ with tough rules for language ability, economic self-support, and a clean criminal record. But what do these restrictions mean for newcomers’ ability to qualify, and how does this differ between different types of immigrants? Using register data on refugees and family migrants who immigrated to Denmark between 2001 and 2009, the authors of this article show that tough language requirements exclude more people than self-support and crime rules, and many cannot qualify even after 13 years in the country. Across groups, education level at entry is the biggest predictor of whether and when newcomers qualify. These findings raise questions about the liberal nature of such requirements and about the future of democratic inclusion in Western Europe.
Kristian Kriegbaum Jensen, Per Mouritsen, Emily Cochran Bech, Tore Vincents Olsen, Roadblocks to citizenship: selection effects of restrictive naturalisation rules, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 2019.