Ireland tops EU list for granting citizenship

Ireland has the highest rate of granting citizenship to foreign nationals of any country in the EU.

Ireland tops EU list for granting citizenship

Data has highlighted how Ireland granted 5.3 citizenships per 1,000 resident population in 2013 — the latest year for which comparative data is available.

It represents a rate almost three times the EU average of 1.9 citizenships per 1,000 inhabitants. Other countries with high rates of granting citizenship were Sweden, Spain, and Luxembourg.

The naturalisation rate is calculated on the number of people who acquire citizenship out of all foreign residents in a country. In 2013, 4.5% of all foreigners living in Ireland were granted Irish citizenship.

The vast majority of the 24,263 people granted citizenship that year came from outside the EU, with 7% coming from another EU state. The highest naturalisation rates are found in Sweden, Hungary, Portugal, Finland, and Malta. The lowest rates are in Slovakia (0.3%), the Czech Republic, and Denmark (both 0.5%).

The 28 EU member states granted citizenship to almost 1m people in 2013, with Spain and the UK accounting for almost half of the total.

Spain naturalised 225,800 new citizens, while the UK granted citizenship to 207,500 individuals. The largest group to acquire citizenship of any EU country were Moroccans (86,500), Indians (48,300), Turks (46,500), and Colombians (42,000).

Ireland has one of the highest rates among EU countries of awarding citizenship to Nigerians, Indians, Filipinos, and Pakistanis.

Nigerians are the single biggest group to be awarded Irish citizenship, accounting for almost 24% of the total.

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