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German Cabinet Publishes New Draft Legislation on Citizenship Reform to Attract Skilled Migrants

German Cabinet Publishes New Draft Legislation on Citizenship Reform to Attract Skilled Migrants

BERLIN(REUTERS) The German interior ministry has unveiled a draft legislation aimed at streamlining the process for individuals to apply for citizenship, as Germany seeks to enhance migration and open up job opportunities in Europe’s largest economy. The proposed legislation introduces provisions such as a multiple citizenship option and shortened residency requirements, thereby reducing the naturalization period from eight years to either five or three years.

According to recent data, by the end of 2021, Germany was home to approximately 72.4 million individuals holding German citizenship and around 10.7 million individuals with foreign citizenship. Among these, approximately 5.7 million foreign citizens had resided in Germany for at least a decade.

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The draft legislation specifically seeks to address the situation of the “Gastarbeiter” generation, predominantly composed of Turkish migrants who arrived in Germany during the 1950s and 60s as laborers. It includes measures to ease the German language proficiency requirements for this generation, recognizing their significant contributions and long-standing presence in the country.

Interior Minister Nancy Faeser emphasized the importance of allowing individuals who have integrated into German society to participate in shaping the country’s democratic processes. Minister Faeser cited examples from countries like Canada, highlighting the crucial role of such perspectives in attracting skilled workers to meet Germany’s labor demands.

“We want people who have become part of our society to be able to help shape our country democratically,” Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said in a statement, adding that examples from countries like Canada show this perspective was crucial to attract the skilled workers Germany needs. The German government last year agreed plans to reform its immigration law, as Berlin seeks to open the job market to much-needed workers from outside the European Union to fill hundred of thousands of vacancies in sectors from gastronomy and childcare to IT and renewable energies.

The German government’s move to reform its immigration law comes as a response to the pressing need for workers from outside the European Union to fill hundreds of thousands of vacancies across various sectors, including gastronomy, childcare, IT, and renewable energies.

However, the draft legislation has encountered opposition both within the ruling coalition and from the conservative opposition party. Critics argue that the proposed legislation might encourage illegal migration while undermining incentives for migrants to fully integrate into German society.

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