V3-3-Migration and Citizenship - International Organization for


Essentials of Migration Management for Policy Makers and Practitioners

Section 3.7

Migration and Citizenship


Section 3.7 Migration and Citizenship

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Learning Objectives

identify major issues to be addressed in the area of citizenship understand the importance of citizenship issues for a comprehensive migration management policy understand how to assess the implications of a citizenship option in migration policy development 2 Essentials of Migration Management

Section 3.7 Migration and Citizenship Topic Titles

Topic One:


Topic Two:

Citizenship Laws

Topic Three:

Citizenship and Migrants

Topic Four:

Loss of Citizenship Essentials of Migration Management 3

Section 3.7 Migration and Citizenship

Terms and Concepts Citizenship

Citizenship has meanings that vary from country to country and between academic disciplines. It has two primary meanings: 1. A legal status of membership in a nation State. 2. Membership in a community that is not necessarily defined as a nation State. For example, European citizenship, universal citizenship, or “post-national citizenship.“

Customary international law

International laws that derive their authority from the constant and consistent practice of States, rather than from formal expression in a treaty or legal text . Customary international law changes as a result of contributions made by individual States. When a State acts from what it determines are its legal obligations in the international community, its practice can contribute to the formation of customary international law. This occurs when other States adopt and consistently follow the contributing State’s example.

(Continued) 4 Essentials of Migration Management

Section 3.7 Migration and Citizenship

Terms and Concepts De facto

In reality or fact; actually

De jure Ex lege

According to law; by right As a result of law


To give up residence in one’s homeland; to renounce allegiance to one’s homeland; to lose one’s citizenship as a result of State action

Jus soli

Acquisition of citizenship by birthplace, sometimes in connection with additional conditions; for example, at least one parent having the right to permanent residence, or the birth of one parent in the territory of the host State (Continued) 5 Essentials of Migration Management

Section 3.7 Migration and Citizenship

Terms and Concepts Jus sanguinis

Acquisition of citizenship by descent from one parent, resulting in dual citizenship if parents are of different citizenship


Status of membership in a nation State. Nationality law determines the conditions under which this legal status is granted. Nationality also is frequently used in the context of an ethnic group forming a part of one or more political nations.

Public international law

A framework of principles agreed to by States that governs the international relations between States, international organizations, and other subjects of public international law


Lacking the legal status of membership in any State 6 Essentials of Migration Management

Migration and Citizenship Topic One Citizenship


Topic One Citizenship

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Under customary international law, States are generally free to determine who their citizens are.

• citizenship at birth or

jus soli

• citizenship through descent or

jus sanguinis

, where citizenship is acquired primarily through birth from parents having a specific citizenship. Citizenship implies the right of an individual to have a citizenship and also a right to be protected against its arbitrary withdrawal.

Under Article 15 of the UN

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

nationality implies a person’s right to change his or her nationality.

of 1948, Human rights considerations and the principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of another State provide the basis for limits imposed by international law on the sovereign right of States to determine their own rules for the acquisition and loss of citizenship.

State law generally regulates the acquisition and loss of citizenship.

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Topic One Citizenship

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Multiple citizenship

An increasing number of persons hold multiple citizenship


No general principle against or in favour of multiple citizenship can be derived from international law.

The “genuine and effective connection” test has gained acceptance in the context of multiple citizenship.

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Migration and Citizenship Topic Two Citizenship Laws


Topic Two Citizenship Laws

Important Points






There is little State practice providing clear limits on State discretion to grant citizenship.

Under customary international law, there is no right to a specific nationality nor is there a right to change nationality or to acquire an additional nationality.

The rights and obligations attached to citizenship are determined by internal law.

Customary international law requires States to admit their own citizens for entry and residence, particularly if they are expelled from other States.

There are as yet no indications of a “post-national” or “transnational” citizenship.

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Topic Two Citizenship Laws

International agreements

• • • Increasing numbers of people with multiple citizenship may give rise to more international disputes resulting from conflicting rights and obligations.

Conflicts arising from different rules on the acquisition and loss of citizenship, and the rights and duties of dual citizens, have resulted in a number of international agreements that regulate: • avoidance of statelessness • conflicting duties • diplomatic protection. The right of everyone to a nationality is already enshrined in Article 15 of the

Universal Declaration of Human Rights


(Continued) 12 Essentials of Migration Management

Topic Two Citizenship Laws

• The duty to avoid statelessness is laid down in various international instruments, in particular, in the 1961

Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.

• Some of the rules of Article 6 of the accepted.

European Convention on Nationality

relating to acquisition of nationality to avoid statelessness may be considered as a codification of customary international law because they are uniformly being Essentials of Migration Management 13

Topic Two Citizenship Laws

The misuse of citizenship law

• Citizenship law cannot be used to renounce a citizenship in order to escape deportation by acquiring a status of statelessness.

• Establishing statelessness for the main purpose of restricting a State’s sovereign right to decide on the admission and residence of foreign citizens means acting against the community of nations.

• Marriages of convenience have been used to qualify for automatic entitlement to citizenship or facilitated access to naturalization.

• In some States, a person claiming to be the father can recognize a child by a simple declaration, thereby establishing the parenthood relationship and transmitting citizenship to a child.

14 Essentials of Migration Management

Migration and Citizenship Topic Three Citizenship and Migrants


Topic Three Citizenship and Migrants

Important Points


The “Generational Approach” to citizenship proposes using generations as a determining factor for citizenship.



For refugees, Article 34 of the

Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees

provides a duty of States to facilitate —as far as possible—their naturalization.

There has, as yet, been no similar treaty provision providing a duty of States to facilitate —as far as possible—the naturalization of migrant workers and their families.



European Convention on Nationality

provides that internal law shall contain rules that make it possible for foreigners lawfully and habitually resident in the territory of a State party to be naturalized.


Facilitation of acquisition of citizenship by migrants is sometimes tempered with measures that ensure that citizenship by way of traditional criteria (for example, by descent) is not transmitted indefinitely without a genuine and effective connection to the State concerned.

16 Essentials of Migration Management

Topic Three Citizenship and Migrants

Multiple citizenship and migrants

• • There is a clear tendency for greater toleration of multiple citizenship.

Reasons for multiple citizenship may be a genuine sense of belonging to more than one place or community, ease of travel, or convenience of business investment.

• Some States provide for multiple citizenship in cases where children have different citizenships acquired automatically at birth, and in the case of automatic acquisition of another citizenship due to marriage.

• • Even those countries that maintain the principle of avoidance of dual citizenship have largely facilitated the maintenance of a previous citizenship if renunciation of it meets serious obstacles or must be considered as unreasonable.

An increasing number of States are reaching out to their diaspora to exercise their civic duty (for example, to vote), although some theorists contend that political rights and responsibilities should be attached only to the State of permanent residence.

17 Essentials of Migration Management

Migration and Citizenship Topic Four Loss of Citizenship


Topic Four Loss of Citizenship

Important Points

1. In most citizenship policies, provisions with respect to loss of citizenship apply only to citizens by registration or naturalization. Exceptions often used to permit deprivation of citizenship include: • voluntary acquisition of another citizenship • acquisition of citizenship by means of fraudulent conduct, false information, or concealment of any relevant fact attributable to the applicant • • • voluntary service in a foreign military force conduct seriously prejudicial to the vital interests of the State extended absence in a foreign country without notification.

2. With the exception of the special case of State succession, there is very little international guidance on the limits of a particular State to deprive people with multiple citizenship of their citizenship in that State.

19 Essentials of Migration Management

Topic Four Loss of Citizenship

State succession and citizenship

• • • There are as yet no generally recognized rules on citizenship in case of State succession.

Article 18 of the

European Convention on Nationality

• the habitual residence of the person concerned obliges States, in deciding on the granting or the retention of nationality, to take into account: • the genuine and effective link of the person with the State • the will of the person concerned, and the territorial origin of the person concerned.

Article 19 of the Convention provides for a duty to endeavour to regulate matters by agreement.

20 Essentials of Migration Management

Last Slide

Section 3.7

Migration and Citizenship