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Germany’s new citizenship law: 10 key changes and their impact

Germany news. Germany has been hosting several conversations surrounding citizenship and immigration policies have gained prominence in German politics. In response to changing and evolving societal dynamics, Germany has introduced a new citizenship law;

What is Germany’s new citizenship law?

The German government approved a new citizenship law that will make it easier for immigrants to become citizens. This law is expected to come into effect in 2023.

Here are ten key changes in Germany’s new citizenship law and how they differ from the existing ones and its impacts.

1. Background

Germany’s previous citizenship law was primarily based on the principle of “jus sanguinis,” meaning citizenship by descent. This meant that if you were born to German parents, you were automatically a German citizen. The new citizenship law, however, introduces changes to this traditional approach, incorporating elements of “jus soli,” or citizenship by birthplace.

2. Birthright Citizenship

One of the most significant changes introduced by the new law is the concept of birthright citizenship. Now, children born in Germany to foreign parents will have the opportunity to acquire German citizenship through birthright, provided that at least one parent has been a legal resident in Germany for at least eight years.

3. Simplified Naturalisation

The new law also streamlines the naturalisation process for immigrants. Previously, immigrants needed to live in Germany for eight years before becoming eligible for citizenship, and in some cases, they needed to renounce their original citizenship. The new law reduces the residency requirement to six years and allows dual citizenship in many cases.

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4. Language Proficiency

Language proficiency requirements have been relaxed. While knowledge of the German language remains essential, the new law makes allowances for individuals who may not have advanced language skills but can demonstrate integration through other means.

5. Birthright Citizenship Challenges

Critics argue that birthright citizenship could potentially lead to “birth tourism,” where people come to Germany solely to give birth and secure citizenship for their children. The law includes provisions to prevent abuse, such as the requirement for one parent to have long-term residency.

6. Dual Citizenship

Under the previous law, Germany generally did not allow dual citizenship. The new law is more lenient in this regard, permitting dual citizenship for those born in Germany who acquire citizenship through birthright, as well as for German citizens who obtain another citizenship through marriage.

READ ALSO: New hope for Africans: Yusupha Kassama’s story – From Gambian refugee in Italy to German citizen

Germany approves Dual citizenship law, residency reduced

7. Integration Measures

Germany’s new citizenship law emphasises integration measures for immigrants. These include participating in integration courses, demonstrating financial stability, and contributing to German society through employment, volunteer work, or other forms of community engagement.

8. Special Provisions for Refugees

The law also introduces special provisions for refugees and asylum seekers. Refugees who have lived in Germany for at least three years can now apply for citizenship. This is a significant shift from the previous law, which required eight years of residence.

9. European Union Citizens

EU citizens living in Germany will continue to benefit from simplified naturalisation procedures. The new law retains the requirement of living in Germany for at least three years for EU citizens.

READ MORE: How to become a German citizen through naturalisation

10. Consideration of Individual Cases

The new citizenship law allows for more flexibility in considering individual cases. Authorities can take into account various factors, including integration efforts, language proficiency, and personal history, when making citizenship determinations.

Differences in the New vs. Existing Citizenship Laws

The new citizenship law will make it easier for immigrants to become citizens of Germany. The residency requirement will be reduced from eight years to five, and children born in Germany to foreign parents will be automatically granted citizenship if at least one parent has resided in Germany for at least five years.

The language requirement will also be made more flexible, and the requirement to renounce one’s previous citizenship will be abolished for most applicants.

In addition, the new law will be more gender-neutral, meaning that there will be no difference in the requirements for men and women. The law will also be reviewed after five years to assess its impact.

What is the impact of the New Citizenship Law?

The new citizenship law is expected to have a significant impact on Germany’s immigrant population. It is estimated that the law could make it possible for millions of immigrants to become citizens. This would help to integrate immigrants into German society and strengthen the country’s economy.

The law is also expected to have a positive impact on Germany’s image as a welcoming country for immigrants. The law’s focus on integration and flexibility is in line with the country’s commitment to diversity and multiculturalism.

Overall, the new citizenship law is a positive step for Germany. It is a sign that the country is committed to creating a welcoming environment for immigrants and their families.

The new citizenship law is a significant step forward for Germany. It makes it easier for immigrants to become citizens, which will help to integrate them into society and strengthen the country’s economy. The law is also a positive sign for Germany’s image as a welcoming country for immigrants.