Sharp Increase in British Jews Applying for Portuguese Citizenship After Brexit

Governments are compelling many Jews to leave Britain as a rising number of British Jews are seeking Portuguese passports.

A large number of Jews from Britain are now seeking a new place to live in Portugal. Statistics show the number of Jews who want to obtain a Portuguese citizenship has increased 80 times since Brexit. The fear that access to the rest of Europe will become more difficult for British citizens may be one of the reasons for this sudden demand for Portuguese citizenship. Another factor which may have sparked this trend could be the Portuguese and Spanish governments’ announcement to make every effort possible to correct the wrongs they had committed to Jews in the past.

Sharp Increase in British Jews Applying for Portuguese Citizenship After Brexit[/tweetthis]

The governments of Spain and Portugal both announced they would be making changes in their legislations to make it easier for Jews to obtain citizenship. This announcement comes after both countries made a public apology to the Jewish community for the persecution they were subjected to in the 15th century, when Jews were told to either convert to Catholicism or leave the country. Thousands left the nations, while others who could not leave outwardly converted to Catholicism, but practiced Judaism in secret.

The Brexit created a huge wave of uncertainty among the British, including the Sephardic Jews who made Britain their home. An uncertain future at home, and the prospects of good treatment in a foreign land is what sparked so many Jews to seek citizenship in Portugal. Although Spain too has welcomed Jews back to their ancestral homeland, the tough language tests and other requirements Spain has may have made Portugal appear to be the better choice. Portuguese language requirements are much more relaxed.

The decision to go for a Portuguese citizenship has several practical reasons. For one, the applicants will once again become European citizens. Another major benefit is that European citizens can freely move about anywhere in Europe.

Growing anti-Semitism in Britain is another factor sparking the rise of Jewish migration from the UK. Similarly, Jews in Turkey are trying to leave the country after a series of targeted violence. The Sephardic Jews in Turkey had settled there after the then Sultan had welcomed the persecuted community into his kingdom.