A little-known loophole has enabled
half a million people from some of eastern Europe’s poorest countries to
obtain Hungarian citizenship and, as a consequence, a European Union
A law introduced
in 2011 has allowed an extra 550,000 non-EU residents to apply for
Hungarian nationality and, with it, the right to live anywhere in Europe
– including Britain.
‘passport giveaway’ was intended to enable people whose ancestors lived
in the former Austro-Hungarian Empire to claim citizenship.
the system has also attracted applicants who admit they have little
emotional attachment to Hungary and only tenuous ancestry.
some people in eastern Europe’s poverty-stricken nations, the scheme
presents a chance to escape to wealthier countries such as Britain,
Germany and Switzerland.
a report by Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration,
John Vine, said the ‘European citizenship route’ was becoming ‘an
increasingly important way into the UK for those whose origins lie
outside the EEA (European Economic Area)’.
report looked at more than 100 sample cases from the Home Office
between April and September last year. It found that more than a third
of Western European nationals applying for citizenship for their partner
were born outside the EU.
Hungarian passport giveaway is just one route. In neighbouring Serbia
alone, 112,000 new passports were issued between 2011 and the end of
March this year."