MPs on Tuesday voted in favour of giving tens of thousands of Dutch nationals in the UK the right to dual nationality if Britain crashes out of Europe.
The law will make it possible for Dutch nationals living in Britain to apply for dual nationality without giving up their Dutch passports, in some cases.
For example, the legislation will only come into effect in the case of a no deal Brexit. And to qualify people must have been living in Britain before the Brexit vote in 2016 and have made the UK their main place of residence since then.
People who have already applied to become British and given up their Dutch nationality will be able to apply retrospectively to have their Dutch passports returned if there is no deal.
The bill was drawn up by the Liberal democratic party D66 and originally included British nationals in the Netherlands as well. But they were dropped from the proposals because there was not enough support in parliament for extending dual nationality rights to them.
The legislation still has to be approved in the senate but that will not pose a problem as there is majority support in the upper house for the plan. The government, however, is opposed to the legislation, saying it is precedent-setting and will create a specific category of dual nationals.
‘You cannot say that this group is perhaps more unfortunate than others, so we should make an exception for them,’ junior justice minister Ankie Broekers-Knol told parliament during last week’s debate.
The government had pledged to publish its thoughts on reforming Dutch nationality this spring but has not yet done so. DutchNews.nl has asked the justice ministry for an update.