Germany’s Ministry of the Interior has recently unveiled a draft legislation aimed at modernizing the country’s citizenship law. The proposed reforms seek to introduce a multiple-nationality option and simplify the process of applying for citizenship.
According to a statement from the ministry, the required residency period before naturalization would be reduced from eight to five years. However, individuals who demonstrate “special integration achievements,” such as proficient language skills, voluntary work, or exceptional job performance, would only need to fulfill a three-year requirement, as reported by Xinhua.
Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser emphasized the importance of allowing individuals who have become integral members of German society to actively participate in shaping the nation’s democratic landscape. “Acquiring citizenship represents the strongest commitment to Germany,” Faeser stated. As of the end of 2021, Germany had approximately 72.4 million citizens and around 10.7 million foreign residents. Among the latter group, about 5.7 million had already lived in Germany for at least a decade, according to information provided by the ministry.
The ministry highlighted the persistently low percentage of citizenships granted to foreign residents who had resided in Germany for a minimum of ten years. In 2021, this figure stood at a mere 2.45 percent. Germany also possesses one of the lowest citizenship rates within the European Union (EU). On Twitter, Minister of Justice Marco Buschmann expressed the government’s intention to streamline the citizenship process for those engaged in manual labor.
Conversely, regulations for individuals reliant on welfare benefits would be tightened to encourage labor market participation. “We aim to promote immigration into the labor market rather than dependency on the welfare state,” Buschmann affirmed. The proposed reforms also prioritize ensuring that certain offenses, such as racist, inhumane, or anti-Semitic acts, would serve as grounds for disqualification from obtaining citizenship.
Faeser asserted the government’s zero-tolerance approach in this regard.
In conclusion, Germany’s Ministry of the Interior has presented draft legislation that seeks to modernize the country’s citizenship law by introducing a multiple-nationality option and simplifying the application process. The proposed reforms aim to reduce the residency requirement for naturalization and incentivize integration achievements. Moreover, the government intends to address the low rate of citizenships granted to long-term foreign residents and establish stricter regulations for those reliant on welfare benefits.