The government’s most senior advisory body, the Council of State, on Wednesday criticised cabinet plans to clamp down on dual nationality and called for a rethink of the legislation.
The council said the government should reconsider the plans, stating that ‘nationality and loyalty are not automatically the same thing’. Around 1.1 million of the 16.7 million population of the Netherlands have two nationalities.
The government is planning to stop everyone who becomes Dutch from keeping their original nationality, apart from those who cannot do so by law. Dutch nationals who take another nationality voluntarily will also lose their Dutch passports.
In its ruling, the Council of State says people who have more nationalities than Dutch are not necessarily ‘less connected’ to the Netherlands. It points out that in the past, dual nationality was seen as a way of encouraging integration, and says the government has failed to argue for changing this.
In addition, the government has failed to show that rejecting one’s original nationality is an effective way of increasing participation in the new country, the ruling states.
It also criticises the government’s decision to remove Dutch nationality from Dutch people who take another nationality, saying the government has failed to show why this should be necessary.
In a reply, home affairs minister Liesbeth Spies states the cabinet wants people to be limited to one nationality in order to clarify ‘the rights and obligations between the state and the individual’.
The minister is also planning to introduce compulsory language tests for everyone. Some people are currently exempt.
New Dutch nationals will also have a family income of at least the minimum wage and show that they have at least two years work experience or have some sort of professional qualification.
The cabinet does not have to follow the Council of State’s recommendations. The new rules, if they become law, will not affect people who currently hold multiple passports.
A CBS survey last year showed some 60% of the Dutch think people who take Dutch nationality should renounce their original one.
The measures were included in the coalition agreement as part of the pact with the anti-Islam PVV.
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