Germany Green Lights Plan To Ease Citizenship Rules

Germany Green Lights Plan To Ease Citizenship Rules

Germany plans to ease citizenship rules under legislation approved on 23 August 2023. This is aimed to attract immigrants and help an economy that is struggling with a shortage of skilled workers.

Amongst others, the new rules will shorten the required period of residence in Germany from eight to five years and will grant children born in Germany with citizenship if one of their parents has been living in the country for five years.

The law will also enable immigrants to hold dual citizenship or multiple nationality, which is currently not possible for most immigrants. 

“We are creating a modern immigration law that does justice to our diverse society — and, I may add, finally, unfortunately were often marked by exclusion, resentment and cheap propaganda,” and that applicants for citizenship “will no longer be forced to give up part of their identity.”

Interior Minister Nancy Faeser

According to the Interior Ministry, around 5.3 million of the 12 million foreign nationals currently in Germany have been living in the country for at least ten years.

Once the law starts applying, millions will gain the right to become German nationals, and benefit from all the rights German citizenship comes with.

The bill still requires parliamentary approval to become a law, and it is expected to be discussed after the summer recess. 

Highlights of the New Bill

The Ministry of Interior has listed the following, as the key points of the bill:

  • Successful integration, good knowledge of the German language, and the ability to earn a living independently will be mandatory in the future for naturalisation
  • Citizenship by naturalisation will be granted after five years of residence in Germany instead of the current eight
  • Naturalisation after three years will be possible for those who have achieved an outstanding performance at work or do voluntary work, speak German well, and are financially independent
  • All children born in Germany to foreign parents will receive German citizenship unconditionally if at least one parent has been living lawfully in Germany for more than five years
  • Naturalisation test will be abolished for guest and contract workers who have made a significant contribution to the development of Germany

The law, however, lays out a set of rules that foreigners who wish to become German passport holders must respect the free democratic basic order.

Foreigners who disregard equality between men and women, and those living in polygamy will be excluded from the new citizenship benefits.

The government has also strongly reiterated that everyone who wishes to become a German citizen by naturalisation must be able to earn a living for themselves and their family members.

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