Germany passes new citizenship law

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Some 382 lawmakers – mostly from Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s left-liberal coalition government – voted in favor of the draft law, while 234 conservative and far-right lawmakers voted against it. Twenty-three lawmakers abstained, Anadolu reports. 

With the new law, immigrants will have a right to German citizenship after five years of residence in the country, instead of the current eight years.

For immigrants who have shown outstanding academic or professional achievements, and have good language skills, this period will be reduced to three years.

The new citizenship law will also allow immigrants to hold dual citizenship or multiple nationality, which was not possible till now, for many of those coming from outside the European Union.

Germany’s Interior Minister Nancy Faeser has welcomed the vote, saying that it was an important reform step, as part of the government’s efforts to modernize the laws on immigration.

“We are creating a modern immigration legislation that will meet the requirements of our diverse society. It was high time to do this,” the Social Democrat politician said.

She also criticized far-right politicians for distorting public debates about migration, carrying out a racist propaganda against immigrants for many years.

“These debates have taken place on the backs of people who have lived and worked in Germany for many years, but have never been allowed to fully belong here. Our reform shows them: You belong to Germany!” Faeser said.

She also underlined that reforming the citizenship law will help Germany in addressing the skilled workers’ shortage, attracting qualified specialists and professionals from abroad.

“We are in the middle of a global competition for the best brains. We urgently need skilled workers in many areas of our economy. We will only attract the best minds if they can become a full part of our society in the foreseeable future, with all their democratic rights,” Faeser said.

Currently around 12 million people in Germany – around 14% of the total population – do not possess German citizenship. Around 5.3 million of them have been living in the country for at least 10 years, according to official figures.

Many of them had been reluctant to apply for German citizenship in the past due to tedious bureaucratic procedures, strict regulations and restrictions on holding dual citizenship.

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