The country's parliament voted in favor of the new citizenship law on Friday, a move that will reduce the time migrants must reside in the country before receiving voting rights. The previous law indicates that foreigners living in Germany can obtain citizenship after eight years. But provisions of the new legislation include that they would just need five years, and in some cases, migrants who can show "special integration performance" will be instantly naturalized after just three years of residing in Deutschland. It also loosens the requirement for elderly migrants to be proficient in the German language. Also, children of foreigners who have lived in Germany for five years or more will be automatically naturalized.
German weekly newspaper Junge Freiheit reported that experts said that the move will immediately enable more than two million foreign nationals to apply for a German passport, including those who entered the country illegally at the peak of the migrant crisis in 2016. "The new law aims to further increase naturalization figures regardless of the benefits for society," the paper reported.
The left cult federal administration reportedly complains that the number of naturalizations in Germany has been "stagnating at a low level" for many years and is relatively low compared to other European countries. According to Eurostat surveys, Germany is below the average for naturalization rates in the European Union. "It is in the interest of society as a whole, that as many foreigners as possible who meet the legal requirements choose to naturalize," the federal government said in the statement released.
However, for analysts, the timing of the move is convenient and suspiciously close to election dates. Of course, naturalized foreigners would be grateful to the left-leaning government and thus, vote for them in the next federal polls. Also, the administration is said to be nosediving in the surveys and losing ground to the opposition Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) because of its failing immigration policy.
"This is probably the traffic light law with the most far-reaching negative consequences for our society," said Alexander Throm, CDU's domestic policy spokesman. According to Remix, the "traffic light" is a colloquialism for the coalition federal government comprising the SPD (red), the FDP (yellow) and the German Green Party. "The traffic lights have lost all sense of the situation in the country," added Mario Voigt, the CDU's leader in the state of Thuringia. "The discussion shows that the Reds and Greens envision a different society. In the largest wave of illegal migration, the traffic light fails to limit it. There needs to be an order back in our migration policy. Naturalization can only be the result of successful integration, not the beginning. True integration takes time," he added.
The more radical anti-mass migration AfD accused the federal government of effectively "selling off German passports," with MP Dr. Christian Wirth telling the Bundestag that the government is seeking to "use citizenship to defend its failed migration policy."
Approximately 170,000 foreigners were granted citizenship in 2022, the vast majority of whom originated from Islamic nations. A total of 50,000 Syrians were naturalized, while Afghans, Turks and Iraqis featured heavily. (Related: More than 7,000 German women have been raped or assaulted by migrants since 2015.)
Germany's interior minister said the change would help attract much-needed skilled workers as the country struggles with labor shortages. "We have to keep pace in the race to attract skilled labor," said Nancy Faeser. "That means we need to make an offer to qualified people from the world over, just as the United States and Canada do. German citizenship is part of that."
The move would allow tens of thousands of Turks, including third-generation immigrants whose parents and grandparents arrived from the 1950s to 1970s as "guest workers," to become citizens and voters. The Turkish community said that some 50,000 people with Turkish roots were expected to make naturalization applications in the coming years following the passing of the citizenship law reform. "And I assume that, in the long term, all 1.5 million citizens of Turkish origin in Germany who do not yet have German citizenship will acquire dual citizenship," Gokay Sofuoglu, the head of the Turkish Community in Germany organization, told the media group Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz, addressing concerns over the far right's stance on immigrants, said in a video message, "We are telling all those who often have lived and worked for decades in Germany, who keep to our laws: You belong in Germany." He highlights that the reform ensures that individuals do not have to "deny their roots."
The first wave of Turkish migration to Germany took place in the 1960s when German companies recruited workers from foreign countries to help with its post-war reconstruction. Today, an estimated three million people of Turkish heritage live in Germany, which has a total population of around 83.3 million. Out of three million Turkish people in Germany, nearly 1.5 million still have Turkish citizenship.
Head over to Migrants.news for stories related to immigration policies of various nations.