More than 48,000 people gained Belgian nationality last year
A total of 48,482 people acquired Belgian nationality in 2022, 24 per cent more than the year before, the federal migration centre Myria announced on Thursday. On average, 2.6 out of every 100 foreigners in the country acquired Belgian citizenship last year. Iraqis and Syrians were the most likely to become Belgian citizens in 2022.
With 4,842 Moroccans becoming Belgian, Morocco represents 10 per cent of this group, followed by Syrians (3,615) and Romanians (2,791). A quarter of the new Belgians come from the EU. The number of Turks who became Belgians (1,797) has almost doubled compared to 2021.
Myria also denounces two problems with the current procedure. Firstly, people who cannot read or write are unable to obtain Belgian citizenship because they have to be able to speak and write in one of the national languages.
"This legal requirement excludes people who are perfectly integrated and express themselves correctly orally, but who are unable to master the written language," Myria says. The Constitutional Court also ruled in March 2023 that the exclusion from Belgian citizenship of certain groups of people who cannot read or write was discriminatory.
Parents on parental leave are also at risk of being discriminated against, says Myria, as proof of "continuous employment" is a key point for acquiring nationality by declaration. The Constitutional Court has already stated that parents on parental leave should not be disadvantaged in their access to Belgian nationality in order to guarantee their right to family life.
© BELGA PHOTO BENOIT DOPPAGNE