Date set for Bundestag debate on dual German citizenship

Of note:

As part of a major overhaul of the country’s immigration policy, the German traffic-light coalition government has set a date to debate a draft law that would allow dual citizenship for residents.

Bundestag to debate German dual citizenship

Until now, the prospect of dual German citizenship seemed impossible for many of the country’s migrants. But yesterday evening The Localannounced in an exclusive article that the Bundestag will debate a new draft law which would allow dual German citizenship. This means that migrants with non-EU nationality would be able to naturalise as German citizens without having to sacrifice their other citizenship status. The policy was first brought to the table as a cornerstone of the traffic-light coalition agreement last year.

The new law would also minimise the time that non-German nationals have to wait before beginning the naturalisation process. The timeline is expected to be reduced from eight years to five years. In some cases, where applicants prove that they are integrated into German society and can certify German language proficiency, they would be able to apply for naturalisation after just three years living and working in Germany.

“People who come here, build a life for themselves and feel a permanent connection to Germany should be able to naturalise quickly,” FDP member of the Bundestag’s interior committee, Stephan Thomae, told The Local. “We want people who live with us, who have integrated well linguistically, legally, economically, and culturally, who contribute to our society’s success and fulfil their responsibilities – to also have the associated rights and make them a permanent offer of integration.”

As of yet there is no set date when the law would come into effect, but it is certain that long-term residents eligible to apply for naturalisation can expect a wait while details of the bill are ironed out before it can come into law. Speaking to The Local, the chair of the SPD body in the Bundestag’s interior committee, Sebastian Hartmann, said, “If the cabinet makes its expected decision in December, we should be able to complete the parliamentary procedure by summer 2023 at the latest.”

Residency versus citizenship rights in Germany

While people with temporary German residency can be granted the security of permanent residence, this status does not come with the same rights and security as holding German citizenship. Over the past years, these circumstances seemed unlikely to change, as Angela Merkel’s CDU were firmly opposed to updating citizenship laws.

Until now, residents in Germany have been able to apply for German citizenship through three methods: through naturalisation (Einbürgerung) after eight years of living in Germany; by right of blood (Abstammungsprinzip) if you are a direct descendant of a German parent; and by right of soil (Geburtsortsprinzip) if you were born within German borders to non-German parents.

The limitations of the latter method, that at least one of your parents must have been a permanent resident in Germany for at least eight years and possess the necessary permissions to remain in Germany indefinitely, means that many people with migrant backgrounds in Germany who were born and have grown up in the country, do not hold citizenship.

Since only those who hold a German passport are entitled to vote in German elections at federal level, the introduction of a dual nationality law could also impact Germany’s voting tendencies. According to broadcaster ZDF, 14 percent of the German population over the age of 18 (9,7 million people) were not eligible to vote in the country’s federal elections last autumn.

Source: Date set for Bundestag debate on dual German citizenship

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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