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Germany Facilitates Citizenship For Foreigners In Pro-Immigration Initiative

Germany Facilitates Citizenship For Foreigners In Pro-Immigration Initiative

In a further pro-immigration initiative, Germany has given approval to amendments to its citizenship law, receiving both praise and criticism.

German lawmakers supported a series of reforms to citizenship that aim to simplify access to citizenship and remove restrictions on holding dual citizenship.

The legislation, proposed by the center-left coalition led by Chancellor Olaf Scholz, received a parliamentary vote of 382-234, with 23 lawmakers abstaining.

Read more: DG Immigration and Passports Expands E-Passport Service to Nationwide

Key aspects of the approved reforms include a reduction in the residency period for citizenship eligibility. Individuals can now qualify after five years in Germany, or three years in the case of “special integration accomplishments,” a notable drop from the previous duration of eight or six years.

German-born children will automatically become citizens if one parent has been a legal resident for five years, down from the existing requirement of eight years.

Another significant change is the removal of restrictions on holding dual citizenship, benefiting tens of thousands of German-born Turks and enabling them to retain dual nationality and participate in elections.

The government argues that these changes will enhance immigrant integration and attract skilled workers. Interior Minister Nancy Faeser emphasized the need to align Germany with its European neighbors and create a more attractive proposition for skilled individuals globally.

The legislation specifies that individuals seeking naturalization must be self-sufficient, with exemptions for specific groups, including those who came to West Germany as “guest workers” until 1974 and those who migrated to communist East Germany for work.

Chancellor Scholz stated in a video message that those who have lived and worked in Germany for decades, abide by the laws, and feel at home “belong to Germany.”

While the reforms are viewed positively as a step toward acknowledging Germany’s multicultural reality, the main center-right opposition bloc criticized it, expressing concerns about potential devaluation of German citizenship. The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) also opposed the law, citing worries about potential conflicts arising from dual citizenship.

Although lawmakers have approved the legislation, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier’s signature is required for it to become law. The citizenship overhaul is part of a broader set of social reforms initiated by Scholz’s coalition since taking office in 2021.

Earlier, Germany had relaxed rules for job seekers and introduced the Chancenkarte, a points-based system for interested job seekers to facilitate entry into the country and find jobs locally. These reforms come as Germany faces a labor crisis, with a need for at least 400,000 immigrants annually to sustain its economy. The shortage of skilled individuals has reached unprecedented levels, affecting the efficiency of companies, as reported by 90% of firms facing labor shortages in a survey.