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Germany’s Dual Citizenship Law on Track for April 2024

Germany’s Dual Citizenship Law on Track for April 2024

The reform of Germany Dual Citizenship Law is making headway, with a predicted timeline for implementation set for April 2024. This major overhaul aims to make it easier for foreign residents to gain German citizenship and holds the promise of attracting more skilled workers to the country.

Overhauling Citizenship Laws

Germany’s coalition government is embarking on one of its most significant projects, the reform of naturalization laws. This reform aims to lower the barriers to obtaining German citizenship and will permit the holding of multiple nationalities, a privilege currently exclusive to EU nationals, unless specific exceptions apply.

Longer Path to Reform

However, the road to making this reform a reality is proving lengthier than initially planned. The first reading of the draft legislation is expected in the Bundestag in November after the cabinet passed the draft bill in August. Hakan Demir, an SPD MP involved in crafting the new law, outlined the anticipated timeline, stating that the first reading would occur in November, with the second and third readings expected in December or January, leading to potential implementation on April 1, 2024.

Residence Requirements Reduced

The sweeping reforms include a reduction in the residence requirements for obtaining German citizenship. Ordinary cases will require five years of residence, while cases involving special integration and C1 language skills will require only three years.

One significant change is the allowance for people from non-EU countries to hold more than one nationality. This means that individuals, such as those from Turkey, will no longer need to renounce their existing passports to become German citizens.

Outdated Laws

According to Jens Zimmermann, a Social Democrat member of the Bundestag, the current German citizenship laws are considered “outdated.” The reform aims to grant long-term residents who have followed the rules and learned the language a path to German citizenship. This is central to the reform’s goals.

Attracting Skilled Workers

The reform is part of a broader effort to attract more people to address Germany’s worker shortage. Seen as a way to compete globally for talent and appreciate those aiding Germany’s success.

Special Provisions

The draft law also includes special provisions designed to make it easier for members of the ‘guest worker generation,’ many of whom came from Turkey. For instance, individuals over 67 will no longer need to take a formal B1 language exam when applying for citizenship, and certain income level requirements will be waived.

Tightened Financial Requirements

The reform relaxes provisions in several areas but also tightens financial requirements for future applicants, which has sparked controversy. Most applicants must prove self-sufficiency, affecting those with young children or long-term disabilities. Hakan Demir hopes to reverse these measures during parliamentary sessions to reach a new agreement.

Opposition and Concerns

Not all are in favor of these citizenship law reforms. The opposition, including the Christian Democrats and CSU, opposes lowering requirements during record migration. It underscores the delicate balance politicians must strike between attracting skilled workers and border control. The current political landscape, with growing far-right and anti-immigration party support, challenges the government on immigration.

Easing Bureaucracy

As the reform progresses, international residents are keenly observing the state of public authorities. Some cities, like Berlin, are already grappling with significant backlogs for citizenship applications. Removing the restriction on dual citizenship is expected to streamline the process by reducing the need to verify individuals’ passport types.

Push for Digitalization

Politicians are also working to expedite the process through digitalization and communication in English. This approach aims to cater to skilled workers coming to Germany who may not be proficient in German.

Germany Dual Citizenship Law reform promises significant changes, aiding foreign resident integration and meeting the demand for skilled labor. As the parliamentary debate rages on, international residents keenly observe Germany’s shifting citizenship scene.

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