New German citizenship laws to be voted on this summer
Germany’s coalition government has announced that the country’s new citizenship law, which will reduce the amount of time foreigners must be resident in the federal republic before they can apply for a German passport, is in the last stages of drafting. The law will face a Bundestag vote this summer.
Getting German citizenship should soon be easier
“An agreement is within reach. Important details are as good as settled,” SPD deputy Dirk Wiese told Rheinische Post this week.
The plan to reform the path to German citizenship has been in the works since the coalition came into government in September 2021. Now, if the new 49-page draft law passes through parliament, migrants to Germany will be able to apply for citizenship after five years rather than eight.
In certain circumstances, where good German skills, voluntary work or impressive occupational achievements are proven, some people will be able to apply for a German passport just three years after moving to the country.
The path to naturalisation is also set to get easier for children who are born in Germany to non-German parents, a significant reform in a country where over a quarter of the population has a migrant background. Currently, children are granted German citizenship if at least one of their parents has been a permanent resident in Germany for at least eight years when the child is born. With the new law, this minimum period will likely be shortened to five years.
Additionally, the new law will allow non-EU citizens to hold dual citizenship with their new German passport. Until now, only EU citizens in Germany can keep both their original passport and German passport simultaneously.
Citizenship draft law amended after FDP criticism
Back in November, senior members of the FDP called the planned citizenship reforms into question, with the party’s general secretary Bijan Djir-Sarai arguing, “Now is not the time for simplifying the German citizenship laws. There has not yet been any progress in repatriation and fighting illegal immigration."
Now, the SPD’s Nancy Faeser and FDP Justice Minister Marco Buschmann say their parties have agreed on amendments to the draft. These changes include explicitly naming certain crimes that would exclude applicants from attaining citizenship, such as proven cases of antisemitic, racist, xenophobic or inhuman acts. Exclusion based on engaging in a polygamous marriage or rejecting gender equality is also expected to be included.
The draft will be reviewed by federal and state governments on Friday and is expected to face votes in the Bundestag and Bundesrat during the summer.
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