Germany to ease citizenship rules

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Ministers from Germany's coalition government have approved a major proposed reform of Germany's citizenship laws designed to allow immigrants to become German citizens more quickly, reported dpa.

The overhaul would shorten the minimum residence time for immigrants before becoming a citizen from eight years to five years. Particularly well-integrated immigrants could apply for naturalization after just three years.

But the latest draft proposal, which has been viewed by dpa, would expressly prohibit those who committed crimes out of anti-Semitic, racist or xenophobic motives.

With some exceptions, the law would also require that those seeking to become German citizens demonstrate that they can support themselves and their family without social benefits.

"Anyone who becomes a German citizen is committed to life in our free and diverse society," said Interior Minister Nancy Faeser, whose ministry drafted the proposal in consultation with other parts of Germany's coalition government.

Faeser, a Social Democrat, said that racism, anti-Semitism and other forms of prejudice are in conflict with principles of German citizenship.

"There is no tolerance whatsoever. If you don't share our values, you can't become German," Faeser said.

At the same time, she emphasized that Germany needs to update its citizenship laws to welcome people who share German values.

"We want people who have become part of our society to be able to help shape our country democratically," said Faeser, who argued that other examples such as Canada have shown that this perspective can be crucial in order to attract urgently needed skilled workers.

The latest draft of the proposal is now expected to be sent to German states and local government associations for consideration.

  •  Germany
  •  Citizenship
  •  Reforms


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