January 11, 2018
THOUSANDS of Britons applied for French citizenship last year after being “horrified” by the Brexit result.
‘They want to stay European’ Record high for Britons applying for FRENCH passports
The French interior ministry boasted the rise in passport applications made by UK residents was linked to the Brexit vote, with the record 3,173 applications in 2017 a record high.
Out of those, 1,518 UK residents acquired French nationality last year.
According to officials, the number of British people applying for a French passport has risen tenfold in three years.
In 2015 only 386 Britons applied for French citizenship, and 320 were given a passport.
In 2016 – the year 52 per cent of British people voted to leave the bloc –, 1,363 British nationals applied for French citizenship and 439 were issued a passport.
Jean-Paul Mulot, the Hauts-de-France region’s permanent envoy to the UK, told the French daily Le Figaro that “most” Britons applying for French citizenship simply wanted to avoid “queues at airports or the Eurostar terminal,” while others wanted to “secure their rights to healthcare and social benefits”.
Mr Mulot added that it was important to take into account dual citizens who had “never bothered” to apply for a French passport until Brexit because of the “paperwork and cost”.
However Fiona Mougenot, the head of the immigration consultancy Expat Partners, told Le Figaro that most of the Britons she had worked with were more concerned with their desire to hang on to their EU citizenship than with bureaucratic issues.
‘They want to stay European’ Record high for Britons applying for FRENCH passports
She said: “Practical matters are obviously important for our clients, but their main motivation is to stay European.
"Those who were unable to take part in the referendum are horrified by the prospect of Brexit and feel betrayed.
"France is important to them because their lives are here, but beyond France, it’s Europe they don’t want to abandon.”
The number of Britons who applied for citizenship in other EU countries soared by tens of thousands following the UK vote to quit the EU in June 2016, with neighbouring Ireland receiving the highest number of passport applications.
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