On Wednesday, the federal government passed a bill to speed up the naturalization process and expand the possibilities of dual citizenship, in particular to reduce the labor shortage in Europe’s largest economy.
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According to the text, which still has to be passed by Parliament, it should be possible to apply for German citizenship after five years of residence in the country instead of the previous eight.
“We want people who have been part of our society for a long time to be able to participate in the democratic organization of our country,” said Interior Minister Nancy Faeser at a press conference.
Foreigners who are particularly well integrated in the country, have a very good command of the language or are known for their voluntary work can complete the process after three years.
“In view of the shortage of skilled workers, we need intelligent and energetic people who want to stay here permanently and who recognize themselves in our country,” said Economics Minister and ecologist Robert Habeck in a statement.
With a few exceptions, however, applicants for German citizenship must prove that they are not dependent on state support.
The law also opens up the possibility for more people to have dual citizenship, including the large Turkish community in Germany, which numbers about 1.5 million nationals.
This privilege was previously reserved for citizens of the European Union and Switzerland.
“A modern citizenship law is an incentive to actively participate in society,” said Habeck.
The revision of the citizenship law is a central project of the coalition of the social democrat Olaf Scholz, which has been in power since December 2021, with the ecologists and the liberals of the FDP.
However, the law is not unanimous in the political class. The conservative opposition was very skeptical from the start.
In the newspaper “Die Welt” on Wednesday, the conservative MP Alexander Throm described the law as “ruthless” and the period of three to five years as “simply too short” to grant German citizenship.