Reconciling automatic and conditional immigrant naturalisation

Kristian Kriegbaum Jensen*, Lasse Nielsen

*Corresponding author for this work

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    Discussions within political theory on naturalisation tend to focus on whether or not it is reasonable and fair to make naturalisation conditional on meeting integration requirements. Those who emphasise the right of long-term immigrants to be included as equal citizens argue that automatic naturalisation is preferable, while those who put emphasis on the state’s legitimate interest in promoting the conditions for a reasonably just society tend to argue that conditional naturalisation is normatively preferable. However, most participating in this debate seem to agree that naturalisation rules must balance these different concerns. In this paper, we argue that the conflicting views on each side of the automatic-conditional divide can be reconciled by introducing the model of discounting-conditional naturalisation. We suggest that a practice in which integration requirements are gradually relaxed over time can in fact sufficiently accommodate those normative considerations that are in conflict under the current practices.

    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
    Issue number1
    Pages (from-to)208-226
    Publication statusPublished - 2021


    • Naturalisation
    • democracy
    • fairness
    • integration requirements
    • respect
    • social cohesion
    • ties


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