German Parliament Approves Law That Makes It Easier to Gain German Citizenship

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In a significant move to modernise nationality laws, the German Bundestag approved a draft law today, on January 19, that makes it easier for individuals to gain German citizenship. The draft, received the needed support with 382 votes in favour, 234 against, and only 23 abstentions.

The opposition mainly came from the Social Democratic Party (SPD), Alliance 90/The Greens, and the Free Democratic Party (FDP), SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

The legislation, which has been a hot topic throughout Germany last year, introduces several key changes to the existing laws, including here permitting German citizens to acquire new nationalities without having to renounce their current, as well as permitting foreigners to become German nationals, without having to give up on their other one(s).

When it comes to naturalisation, multiple nationalities should generally be accepted in the future. At the same time, naturalisation should generally be possible after a stay of five instead of the current eight years, and even after three years if special integration services are provided.

German Parliament

At the same time, in a bid to streamline the citizenship process for children born to foreign parents in Germany, the period of residence for a parent will be shortened from eight to five years.

People who are in a plural marriage and those who demonstrate behaviour that disregards the equal rights of men and women will be stripped of the right to become German citizens. The same will apply to those who are not committed to free democratic basic order, motivated by anti-Semitism, racism, or inhumanity.

Exceptions to the requirement of self-sufficiency during the naturalisation process will be granted to:

  • individuals employed full-time for at least 20 months in the past two years
  • those living in a family with a full-time worker and a child
  • guest workers and contract workers who were in the Federal Republic or the former GDR until 1990

According to the law, guest and contract workers do not have to take a naturalisation test and only have to prove oral German language skills.

German Parliament

Before the law went into voting, the CDU/CSU parliamentary group presented a motion called โ€œPreserve the value of German citizenshipโ€, insisting that the proposed changes to nationality law are โ€œfundamentally wrongโ€, which was rejected.

The group also wanted to introduce several mandatory requirements for the acquisition of German citizenship, including an express commitment to Israelโ€™s right to exist.

On the same day, the Parliament approved another law called the Return Improvement Act, which makes possible the continuation and ordering of detention pending deportation regardless of any asylum applications.

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