Members of the German parliament (Bundestag) voted in favor of historic changes to the country’s citizenship law on Friday. Under the new law, foreigners who have lived in Germany for five consecutive years will be considered eligible for citizenship.
Also foreigners can retain their original nationality i.e. take dual citizenship.
The Bundestag, the lower house of the German parliament, voted to relax naturalization laws and support dual citizenship. The German government says the law will make Germany more attractive to internationally skilled workers.
382 members of the Bundestag voted to pass the law, 234 voted against and 23 abstained. Members of the ruling coalition government, namely Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democrats (SPD), Free Democrats (FDP) and the Green Party, voted in favor of the law.
On the other hand, members of the country’s opposition conservative right-wing parties opposed the bill.
According to the new law, foreigners who have lived in Germany for five years can apply for a German passport subject to fulfilling the conditions, which is currently eight years. However, one can apply for citizenship after 3 years if one can demonstrate German language C1 level and special achievements at work. As a result of this new law, foreigners will be able to retain the citizenship of the country they came from. Which is currently only allowed for citizens of other European countries and Switzerland.
Elderly people and children will benefit from the new law. Those over 67 do not need to pass the language proficiency (B1-level German) and citizenship test to apply for citizenship. Also, if a foreign father or mother has legally resided in Germany for five years at the time of the child’s birth, their child will acquire German citizenship.
Expatriate Bangladeshi Shahabuddin Mia, the leader of the German Green Party, said, “Germany currently needs a lot of skilled manpower.” As a result of this change in the citizenship law, this crisis of skilled workers will be removed to some extent.
He said that since Bundestag members had voted to pass the law, it would now be presented to President Frank-Walter Steinmeier for signature through the Bundesrat, according to German rules. If everything goes well, the law is expected to come into effect from next April or May.