Floris Peters presented a paper co-authored with Swantje Falcke and Maarten Vink on ‘Becoming Dutch at what cost? The impact of application fees for naturalisation by low-income immigrants in the Netherlands’ at the IMISCOE 2021 conference in the session ‘Making New Citizens: Re-examining the Integration - Citizenship Nexus: Politics and Policy Arenas’. The conference took place on 7th July 2021.
Abstract: Citizenship policies in Europe have been characterised by contrasting trends over the past decade with reforms such as dual citizenship acceptance or shorter residence requirements making citizenship more accessible to immigrants. In contrast, the introduction of civic integration and economic requirements have provided new obstacles to immigrants’ naturalisation. The overall impact of citizenship liberalisation and restriction are relatively well studied; yet the impact of economic requirements on citizenship acquisition rates remains understudied in Europe. These requirements may either be direct, such as proof of economic self-sufficiency, or indirect, such as the payment of a substantial application fee. Especially the United Kingdom and the Netherlands have witnessed significant increases of application fees in the past decade, which may well prejudice the chances of immigrants, especially those with lower incomes, of becoming a citizen of the destination country. While studies have recently analysed the relevance of fees and fee waivers in the US context, few studies exist that probe the impact of application fees in the European context. In this paper we analyse the role of application fees in the naturalisation decision of immigrants in the Netherlands, where fees have increased from 336 euro in 2003 to currently 901 euro for a single application, with especially large hikes in 2010 and 2011. Using administrative register data on the complete immigrant population between 2004 and 2016 we look at how increased application fees have affected the naturalisation propensity of low-income migrants in the Netherlands.