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Germany’s express nationality law sparks controversy

Germany is crafting a revised path to rebrand itself as a nation open to immigration. A law draft, set for voting across the country’s states and associations, offers a reduction in the minimum residency period for naturalization, making it easier for migrants to become citizens, while easier dual citizenship is also on the cards.

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The law would cut the required time from eight to five years, potentially further reduced to three for individuals exhibiting significant integration efforts, such as German language proficiency, exceptional work contributions, or substantial voluntary work.

Embracing the concept of multiple nationalities introduces an overdue shift in our perspective,” declared Faeser, underlining a core shift in the proposed law. Originally reported by the “Süddeutsche Zeitung”, the draft law also encompasses more provisions.

For children of immigrants born in Germany, the law significantly shortens the naturalization time limit, provided one parent has legally resided in Germany for five years. For senior immigrants aged 67 or more, the Justice Ministry plans to scrap the German language skill requirement, opting for a basic level of German listening and speaking skills for naturalization.

A crucial reform in the “Nationality Law” is the elimination of the need to renounce the original nationality upon naturalization in Germany. The draft law points out that previous legal provisions are grossly misaligned with reality, noting that many immigrants acquiring German nationality in recent years have not renounced their original nationality.

Lamya Kaddor of the Green Party, welcomed the change, emphasizing that Germany has been a long-standing destination for immigrants. “An updated nationality law is overdue. It’s high time we recognised this reality,” Kaddor suggested.

However, the revamped proposal has kindled skepticism among opposition parties. Alexander Throm (CDU), the Union’s interior expert, sees the proposed changes as poorly planned.

Thorsten Frei (CDU), Union’s parliamentary group manager, fears the law might devalue German citizenship while Alexander Dobrindt, CSU regional group leader, accused the ruling coalition of jeopardizing the societal consensus established over the past two decades, potentially fuelling societal polarization.

As per the Federal Ministry of the Interior, about 10.7 mln foreign citizens resided in Germany by the end of 2021, with 5.7 mln living in the country for at least a decade.

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