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Bill suggests 'nationality exam' as requirement to obtain Belgian citizenship
A bill that would impose a "nationality test" on immigrants seeking to obtain Belgian citizenship is currently under consideration.
The bill was presented by the CD&V party, whose chairman Sammy Mahdi is also the former secretary of state for asylum and migration in Belgium.
Mahdi was born in the Ixelles neighbourhood of Brussels to an Iraqi refugee father and a Flemish mother, but his party’s bill would make it substantially more difficult for refugees and other immigrants to set down permanent roots in the country.
The bill does not exactly come as a surprise: Mahdi already suggested last summer that anyone applying for Belgian nationality should first have to prove that they have sufficient knowledge of the country, its language and its customs, De Standaard reports.
But CD&V is now going one step further by tabling a bill towards that end, making the granting of Belgian nationality conditional on the passing of a mandatory test administered in one of the three national languages.
This test, the precise content of which would be left to the communities to decide, would aim to assess whether the candidate has a sufficiently strong link with Belgium and whether they have sound knowledge of its society.
CD&V MP Franky Demon pointed out that the Netherlands, France and Germany already have similar tests in place.
“This test should not be a hammer with which to hit people,” Demon said. “But applicants will have to be able to demonstrate that they have the necessary knowledge about Belgium, such as knowing what the Atomium is.”