The new nationality act has had an immediate impact. Declarations of nationality were down by 40% in a year, naturalisation decreased by 63% and grants by 23%, reports Le Soir on Tuesday. The rules for acquiring Belgian citizenship have been much stricter since January 1st, 2013.
Both the old and new set of rules currently coexist; almost 30,000 cases filed before January 1st, 2013 are yet to be ruled on. But in spite of the high number of pre-reform applications, figures are already showing the strong impact of the new legislation. Overall, 41,285 persons became Belgians in 2013. Last year 2014 only 23,758 did so, a decrease of almost 40%.
Belgium has been one of the most liberal countries when it came to granting citizenship. The aim of the new law was to lower the rate at which this was happening and seems to have been successful.