Germany’s government defends a plan that makes it easier to apply to for citizenship. This was done in response to criticisms by the opposition and members from the ruling coalition, which suggested that the plan could encourage illegal immigration.
According to the government it wants to increase immigration and to train to fill the skills gap that has been affecting Europe’s largest economy. This is at a time of slowing growth and pressure on the public pensions system.
“Anyone who lives, works or resides in this country permanently should have the right to vote. They should be part of our country with all rights, duties,” stated Chancellor Olaf Scholz during a televised forum about immigration.
He stated, “And this should never be completely independent of origin, skin colour or religious affiliation.”
Nancy Faeser (Interior minister) from Scholz’s Social Democrats presented plans to decrease the time it takes to become a citizen from eight to five year and to remove restrictions on dual citizenship.
German language requirements for citizenship would also be relaxed for members the “Gastarbeiter”, many who were immigrants who arrived in Germany during the 1950s and 1960s.
Scholz stated that Germany would follow a similar approach to other countries and establish a transparent, nonbureaucratic system of immigration points in order to allow foreigners with the right qualifications to apply for work.
He stated that it would be simpler to study or obtain qualifications in Germany.
Scholz supported dual citizenship of immigrants, arguing that identity is not a zero-sum game.
Scholz said that the cabinet would discuss the draft legislation Wednesday. It must then be submitted to the Bundestag (lower house of parliament).
FDP secretary general, who is the junior partner of a coalition that includes the SPD, Greens, and environmentalist Greens, has voiced his opposition to this plan. Bijan Djir, secretary-general of FDP, raised questions about the timing of the plan and complained about a lack of progress in illegal migration and deportations.
Faeser reiterated the unity of the coalition and stated that all parties had signed the agreement as part of their coalition agreement. She stated that legal changes could take effect in summer 2023.
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