Drop in Belgian naturalization figures

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The number of applications for naturalization passing through has been in freefall since the law was reinforced. In 2012, there were 18,732 applications against only 2,431 since the beginning of this year, according to Het Nieuwsblad and De Standaard, based on figures supplied to parliament by N-VA (News Flemish Alliance) member Theo Francken.

Despite this decline, the waiting list still includes 40,000 people who submitted their application before 1 January, before the new law came into force. Belgian nationality can also be done through local communes, but applicants must have live there for at least five years and can prove that they are well integrated, speak the language and have a job.

According to the two dailies, 568,574 foreigners were granted Belgian nationality through proceedings before parliament between 2000 and 2011.

In addition, last year gave Flanders almost 40,000 foreigners work permits, which is a record. In 2003, that number peaked at 17,399.

Sources: La Libre Belgique, Het Nieuwsblad and De Standaard

Photo of Belgian Federal Parliament: Klever