Due to significant differences in the legislation of the Scandinavian countries, citizens from other countries are met by different rules and procedures when they become citizens. The purpose of this report is to investigate two issues of naturalization in Denmark, Norway and Sweden. First, the question about what it is that makes foreign-born people apply for citizenship in a new country is investigated. Secondly, the question arises as to whether the new citizenship affects the labour market integration of the immigrants.

Some overall conclusions and recommendations

  • In Sweden, as well as in Norway and Denmark, people from the Nordic countries and Western Europe are less likely to apply for citizenship than people from Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe.
  • There is a link between the relative difference in economic development in the country of origin and destination where people from poorer countries apply for citizenship to a greater extent.
  • Individuals who come from countries with greater civil liberties are naturalized to a greater degree than those who come from countries with fewer civil and civil rights.
  • Out of the three countries, Sweden is the best at naturalization and the introduction of dual citizenship has had a positive impact on the degree of naturalization in the country.
  • In general, citizenship can have a positive effect on the individual's situation in the labour market, partly as a guarantee for employers that the individual plans to stay in the country, and partly through the increased range of services reserved for Swedish citizens.

About the report authors

The report, Who becomes a citizen and what happens next? (2015: 6), is written by Pieter Bevelander, professor at Malmö Institute for Studies of Migration, Diversity and Welfare (MIM) at Malmö University, and Jonas Helgertz, Department of Economic History at Lund University. Anna Tegunimataka, PhD student in Economic History at Lund University, and Bernt Bratsberg, Professor of Economics at the Frisch Center, Norway, were also part of the project.

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