Germany’s multi-party coalition government is working on proposals to make it easier for immigrants to become German citizens.
The country’s interior ministry is working on a draft law that would allow foreigners who have resided in Germany for five years to apply for citizenship instead of the current eight years, Bild newspaper reported last week.
The ministry told the newspaper that if the residents have completed “special integration measures” it could even be possible to apply for a German passport after three years, adding that they were still discussing the proposals and nothing had been finalized.
The report says children born in Germany to foreign parents would automatically be granted citizenship if one parent has had “legal habitual residence” in Germany for five years.
Ministers from Germany’s 16 states have previously called on the federal government to speed up the process of making children born to foreigners living in Germany become German citizens.
The new proposal will also make people older than 67 be exempted from a written language test. The “ability to communicate orally” would be sufficient to gain citizenship, it said.
News website The Local, citing ministry sources, reported that immigrants in Germany would also be allowed to hold dual citizenship, a privilege currently only enjoyed by EU and Swiss citizens.
An overhaul of German citizenship and immigration laws was part of the agreement reached by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democrats (SPD), the environmentalist Greens and the business-focused Free Democrats (FDP) before they formed their government.
The parties explicitly agreed to allow dual citizenship for immigrants in Germany, vowing to expedite and simplify residency and asylum applications.
But Opposition Christian Democratic Union parliamentarian Thorsten Frei told Bild, “the German passport must not become junk.”
The opposition Christian Social Union politician Andrea Lindholz is also concerned that, “foreigners in Germany are deprived of a great incentive to integrate,” should the proposals become law.