Germany agrees to ease citizenship rules

Germany to quiz candidates on Israel in citizenship test
Image: Germany's flag

The German cabinet on Wednesday approved plans to shorten the path to citizenship for immigrants and allow more people to have dual nationality.

Under the proposed new rules, which must still be approved by parliament, naturalisation in Germany would be possible after five years instead of eight as now.

Those who are particularly well-integrated and have very good German language skills will be able to obtain nationality after just three years.

Prospective new citizens will have to show they are not dependent on state support, although the condition will have exceptions.

The draft law will also open the door for more people to become dual citizens, including those from Germany’s large Turkish community.

The route to citizenship has remained tough for many immigrants from Turkey and other countries who came to Germany as so-called “guest workers” in the second half of the twentieth century.

The right to dual nationality has generally been limited to EU and Swiss citizens at present, though there are exceptions in practice.

The overhaul of Germany’s citizenship legislation was a key pledge made by Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s centre-left-led coalition government when it came to power at the end of 2021.

Europe’s biggest economy is also trying to attract foreign workers to plug acute labour shortages, and is keen to make itself a more attractive destination.

The new law reflected Germany’s “diverse society”, interior minister Nancy Faeser said at a press conference.

Germany was in a “global competition for the best minds” and would improve its offer to potential workers by offering a clear path to citizenship, Faeser said.


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