Chancellor Olaf Schulz.Image: Cornerstone
The German Council of State (Bundesrat) on Friday approved two more elements of Chancellor Olaf Scholz's new immigration policy. The new law stipulates that immigrants can become citizens after just five years of residence in Germany – provided they can support themselves without government assistance.
So now they have to live in the country for at least eight years. If you perform well in school or at work, have good language skills or do volunteer work, naturalization should be possible after only three years.
Anyone who wants to obtain a German passport should not give up their old one. This does apply to EU citizens and some special cases, but not to people from Turkey, for example. The reform also affects Germans who want to become citizens of another country. You no longer need any special permission from the German authorities. Until now, without this permit, you lost your German citizenship when you acquired another citizenship.
The Prime Minister of Rhineland-Palatinate, Malu Dreyer of the Social Democratic Party, promoted reform in the Federal Council. On the other hand, Baden-Württemberg's Interior Minister, Thomas Strobl, in his capacity as Deputy Prime Minister, announced that the plans were on the wrong track. He said that naturalization processes take place on average only after 16.3 years, first, because true integration, including language acquisition, takes time. Second, the responsible authorities already lack capacity. As a result, foreigners who meet all the criteria often have to wait a very long time from submitting their application to obtaining citizenship.
You have to cover your living expenses
Anyone who wants to obtain a German passport must be able to support themselves and their dependent relatives. Those who were dependent on social assistance or basic security through no fault of their own were previously subject to an exception – but in the future this will only apply to certain groups and cases.
The so-called Return Improvement Act also found support on Friday. The law, passed by the Bundestag in January, aims to ensure that criminals, dangerous people and smugglers in particular are deported more quickly.
It includes a number of measures to make the implementation of deportations more effective and to better implement the obligation to leave the country for people who are not entitled to remain. This gives the authorities more opportunities to locate people who have to leave the country, clarify their identity using documents, and prevent them from hiding. For example, the maximum period of immigration detention will be extended from 10 days to 28 days. In addition, officials in shared accommodation should also be allowed to enter rooms other than the room of the person being deported. (DAP/EPA)
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