Crackdown looms on citizenship fraud

24th March 2006, Comments 0 comments

24 March 2006, BRUSSELS — Stricter regulations on Belgian naturalisation laws in future will allow citizenship to be taken away from foreign residents if they are fraudulently naturalised.

24 March 2006

BRUSSELS — Stricter regulations on Belgian naturalisation laws in future will allow citizenship to be taken away from foreign residents if they are fraudulently naturalised.

Federal Justice Minister Laurette Onkelinx said she will amend the current accelerated naturalisation law in April.

Legislation dating from 2000 allows foreigners to gain Belgian citizenship if they have lived in Belgium for seven years. The application can be lodged after three years, but based on goodwill.

However, under questioning from Christian Democrat CD&V MP Simonne Creyf, Laurette has told Parliament she intends to tighten the legislation.

Courts of appeal may in future take citizenship away if it is proven that fraud was committed in obtaining Belgian nationality. Fraudulent methods range from fake marriages to the use of forged documents.

Currently, if fraud is proven, justice authorities can only dissolve a fake marriage, newspaper 'De Standaard' reported on Friday.

Public prosecution offices, the immigration service DVZ-OE and/or the security service VS-SE will also be granted in future more time to investigate if someone is eligible for nationality. Currently, they barely have a month to conduct inquiries.

Onkelinx will also tighten regulations in which 'stateless' children born in Belgium are automatically given the Belgian nationality.

That decision comes after the Socialist PS party raised concerns that pregnant women, primarily from Latin America, are coming to Brussels to have a child without registering the birth at their embassy.

The child thus comes into consideration for Belgian nationality and the mother can apply for social security payments from the Brussels government and demand a de facto residence permit.

[Copyright Expatica News 2006]

Subject: Belgian news

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