Record number of Poles granted British citizenship
PR dla Zagranicy
The number of Poles granted British citizenship doubled in 2013, with 6000 applicants approved last year.
Piccadilly Circus, London. Photo:wikipedia
Foreigners must have resident status before they can apply, which entails living in the UK for at least five years.
Currently, over 600,000 Poles have resident status, according to the UK's Home Office.
“The decision to take up citizenship may spring from the desire to stabilize one's private life, it can also be an expression of a response to the ongoing debate on the future relations of the United Kingdom with the EU,” commented Konrad Jagodzinski, a spokesman for the Polish Embassy in the UK, in an interview with the Rzeczpospolita daily.
Prime Minister David Cameron has repeatedly talked of renegotiating Britains's membership of the EU, and in recent months, obtaining citizenship has become more difficult.
As of October 2013, applicants have been obliged to pass a language test, as well as an exam concerning knowledge of the UK.
Euro-sceptic party the UK Independence Party (Ukip) won the most seats in Britain in last week's EU elections, with a 27.5 percent share of the vote.
The number of EU citizens emigrating to the UK rose by 27 percent in 2013, compared with 2012, according to the Office of National Statistics.
Of these, about 70,000 came from countries that joined the EU in 2004 (including Poland), about 10,000 more than in 2012.
About 23,000 came from Romania and Bulgaria, which joined in 2007, although these two countries had limited access until 1 January 2014. (nh)