Citizenship rules in Germany are expected to be simplified as a draught law proposes significant reforms in this area.
The changes, proposed by the Federal government in a recently published draught bill, include a shorter and easier path to German citizenship, as well as the ability to have multiple citizenships.
The new nationality laws would be implemented after taking into account the views of German states and organisations.
The following modifications to the laws are planned:
- Legal immigrants in Germany will be able to apply for citizenship after five years, rather than the current eight.
- Children born in Germany to at least one parent who has lived legally in the country for five years or more will be granted German citizenship automatically.
- Multiple citizens will be allowed, and the ban on this will be lifted.
In conditions of particular integration efforts, the law proposes to reduce the five-year duration to three years.
In her comments on the draught law, Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser called it one of the country’s most important progress themes, emphasising the significance of adopting these reforms in order to recruit qualified workers to fill labor shortage gaps.
According to experts, the possibility of lifting the restriction on dual citizenship is a significant milestone given that the ban has been in effect for years. Only people with an EU passport or who have one German parent are eligible for dual German citizenship under current law.
“Many immigrants identify as Germans but do not want to completely cut ties with their homeland.” They will no longer be forced to give up a portion of their identity in the future. “We are finally completing the long-overdue paradigm shift and allowing multiple nationalities,” Nancy Faeser explained.
Minister Faeser elaborated, saying that those who are well-integrated, speak German fluently, and perform well at the job or in volunteer activity will be eligible for German citizenship by naturalisation after only three years.
“We want to recognise the enormous lifetime achievements of our country’s guest worker generation.” That is why we intend to make naturalisation easier for them,” the Minister added.
Though rights groups applaud the pro-immigration initiative, the opposition center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) has a different opinion.
“German citizenship is something very precious, and one should treat it very carefully,” CDU leader Friedrich Merz said to reporters, clearly opposing the measure.
As far as the stats are concerned, Sweden had the highest naturalization rate 8.6% in 2020 while the rate was 1.1% for Germany.
Moreover, as per the Federal Ministry of the Interior, about 10.7 million foreign citizens resided in Germany by the end of 2021, with 5.7 million living in the country for at least a decade.