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Germany's Scholz reaffirms election pledge to reform immigration laws

Germany's Scholz reaffirms election pledge to reform immigration laws
Chancellor says coalition government to modernize laws, make it easier for immigrants to become German citizens

BERLIN (AA) – German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Monday reaffirmed his election campaign pledge to reform the country’s citizenship and immigration laws.

Speaking at a gathering in Berlin, Scholz said the Social Democrat-led coalition government is planning to modernize laws to build a more inclusive and democratic society.

"Today 9 million people have no German citizenship, although they have been living and working in our country for many years," Scholz said, adding that these immigrants have made significant contributions to the German economy and society.

"For example, in the health sector, about a quarter of doctors in Germany are not born here, they have immigration background. Similarly, one third of nurses, caretakers have immigration background," he said.

The chancellor said planned reforms will make it easier for immigrants to become German citizens and will enhance integration and political participation.

"One who permanently lives and works here should also have the right to vote and to stand for election, should be part of our country, with all rights and obligations, irrespective of origin, skin color or religious beliefs," he stressed.

Scholz also underlined that planned reforms will enable immigrants to hold dual citizenship, or multiple nationality, which is currently not possible for immigrants from certain countries.

Reform of German citizenship and immigration laws was a centerpiece of the coalition agreement between Scholz's Social Democrats, the Greens and the pro-business Free Democrats when they formed the government last year.

As part of Germany's immigration reforms, people who have already lived in the country for several years should be able to become citizens more easily. Instead of eight years, as is currently the case, it should be possible to obtain citizenship after five years of residence in Germany.

In the case of "special integration achievements," this should even be possible after three years – for example if immigrants have shown special academic or professional achievements or voluntary commitment or have particularly good language skills.

Children born in Germany to foreign parents should automatically become Germans if one parent has had their "lawful habitual residence" in Germany for five years. So far, this has only been the case after eight years.

source: News Feed
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