Germany announces plans to speed up naturalisation process

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By Euronews  with AFP
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, centre, speaks during an immigration meeting "Germany, Immigration Country, Dialogue for Participation and Respect" in Berlin, Monday, Nov. 28,
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, centre, speaks during an immigration meeting "Germany, Immigration Country, Dialogue for Participation and Respect" in Berlin, Monday, Nov. 28,   -   Copyright  John MacDougall

The German Government wants to make it easier for foreign residents living in Germany to obtain German citizenship.

Until now, the rule was anyone who has lived in the country for at least eight years can submit an application to obtain a German passport.

However, in the future, the traffic light coalition, made up of the SPD, Green and FDP parties, has agreed to shorten wait times and grant citizenship to people who have lived in Germany for five years.

A draft bill by the Ministry of the Interior will make it easier for foreigners in Germany to obtain German citizenship. 

In the case of "special integration achievements," this might even be possible after just three years - for example, if immigrants have demonstrated special academic or professional achievements or voluntary commitments, or have particularly good language skills.

Opposition to the bill

However, Friedrich Merz, the CDU party chairman has slammed the proposal and says that it will probably not get approved in the Bundesrat. 

"I have great reservations about dealing with citizenship law the way the coalition is doing," he said.

"German citizenship is something very valuable and it must be handled with care. Dual citizenship should not be the rule but the exception. 

"And I would like to remind you that in recent years we have already made possible a comprehensive expansion of immigration into the labour market in Germany. 

"All the stories that are being told that this has never happened are inaccurate. We have immigration in the labour market. What we have to avoid is immigration into the social systems and if that is the goal of the coalition then of course we will not agree to it" he added.

However, Boris Pistorius, the Interior Minister in Lower Saxony and an SPD member said, "We must have an interest in making these people a part of our society as well. So that they don`t live as a parallel group next to it, with fewer rights but with the same obligations as everyone else"

"That`s why that`s a very clear advantage, which necessarily makes it clear that Germany is and must be an immigration country."

In 2021, almost 132,000 people were granted German citizenship, about a fifth more than the year before. Most of them were of Syrian origin, followed by Turkish and Romanian.