Brexit dual nationality plans should not be adopted, gov’t advisor says

Draft legislation to give dual nationality rights to British nationals in the Netherlands and Dutch nationals in the UK should not be adopted by parliament, according to the government’s most senior advisory group, the Council of State.

The legislation, drawn up by several MPs, has now been tabled in parliament but faces a daunting task to get accepted even though Brexit is a ‘unique situation which requires unique measures’ backer Sjoerd Sjoerdsma told earlier.

The Dutch currently only allow dual nationality in a few, specific circumstances, although an overhaul was promised in the coalition agreement. This means that currently most Dutch people in the UK would lose their Dutch passports if they become British, and the same for British nationals in the Netherlands.

In its recommendations, the Council of State says the measure proposed by the MPs is ‘far reaching’ and points out that it would create a specific group of citizens who are allowed dual nationality.

It is therefore important to assess if the same effect can be achieved by alternative means. The measures proposed by the government and Brussels already deal with an ‘important part’ of the impact of Brexit and there is insufficient reason to make an exception for British nationals in the Netherlands, the council said.

Similar arguments apply to the position of Dutch nationals in Britain, the council said.

The government does have plans to modernise the dual nationality laws, but the justice ministry told last month that no date has yet been set for the publication of draft legislation.

A ministry spokesman said the process to develop the legislation is still ongoing and no time frame can be given at the moment. ‘All relevant jurisprudence is being looked at,’ the spokesman said.

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