New test to acquire Belgian nationality for good?

The governing Flemish nationalists wants to stop the automatic acquisition of Belgian nationality for children with only one Belgian parent. Under proposals people with only one Belgian parent would only become Belgian for good after they have passed a citizenship test when they are over 18 years of age.

The test will show whether people have sufficient knowledge of Dutch and of our society. People who went to school here will be able to apply for an exemption.

N-VA lawmaker Sarah Smeyers (photo): "As long as they are minors such children will remain Belgian, but between the ages of 18 and 28 they should reconfirm their nationality. For children who have been here all their lives this should not pose a problem. We want to prevent children who obtain Belgian nationality thanks to a declaration before the age of three and then leave the country from being 'Belgians on paper' for the rest of their lives."

Flemish liberal coalition partner Open VLD says there can be no question of attacking the fundamental conditions of nationality for children of Belgian parents or with one Belgian parent. Open VLD is prepared to look at ways of beefing up the citizenship of newcomers. Liberal lawmaker Carina Van Cauter calls for action with regard to bogus recognitions of Belgian children by immigrant fathers with a view to acquiring residency and nationality through family reunification.

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