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Sophia Schirmer – Huge increase in Britons seeking citizenship in EU states as Brexit looms

The number of Britons seeking citizenship in other EU countries has surged as a result of the Brexit vote, with some member states recording near tenfold increases on 2015 figures.

Denmark, Italy, Ireland and Sweden have all reported a spike in applications from British citizens eager to secure proper status in the EU following the 23 June vote that has set the UK on course to leave.

Across 18 European countries, at least 2,800 Britons applied for citizenship in the first eight months of 2016 – a more than 250% increase on numbers recorded in 2015. Compared with last year’s figures, numbers have surged almost tenfold in Denmark and threefold in Sweden.

Several applicants told the Guardian that it was the Brexit vote that prompted them to take action.

“I started the application process on 24 June, the day after the EU referendum,” said Ravi Bhatiani, 33, who has been living and working in Brussels for nine years. “As soon as there was a risk to the freedom of movement and therefore a risk to my ability to work in Belgium and do the job I enjoy doing, I decided to apply for citizenship.”

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