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Berlin, May 20 – Germany’s Interior Ministry published draft legislation aimed at modernising the country’s citizenship law. It proposes a multiple-nationality option and makes it easier for people to apply for citizenship.
The required residency years before naturalisation would be reduced from eight to five years, the Ministry said on Friday in a statement. In the case of “special integration achievements,” such as good language skills, voluntary work, or very good job performance, the requirement would be three years.
“We want people who have become part of our society to be able to help shape our country democratically,” Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said.
“Acquisition of citizenship is the strongest commitment to Germany.”
At the end of 2021, around 72.4 million people with German citizenship and around 10.7 million with foreign citizenship lived in Germany. Of the latter, around 5.7 million had already been in Germany for at least 10 years, according to the Ministry.
The share of citizenship granted in Germany to the foreign population that has been living in the country for at least 10 years was permanently low, the Ministry added.
In 2021, it was only 2.45 per cent. Germany also has a particularly low citizenship rate in a EU comparison, Xinhua news agency reported.
“We are making the citizenship process easier for people who make a living from working with their own hands,” Justice Minister Marco Buschmann said on Friday on Twitter.
“Rules for people who live off the welfare state will be tightened. This sets incentives to take up work and shows: We want immigration into the labor market, not into the welfare state.”
The reform aims to ensure that certain crimes such as racist, inhumane or anti-Semitic acts would exclude applicants from attaining citizenship.
“There is no tolerance in this regard,” Faeser added.