German citizenship reform back on parliamentary agenda
After being scrapped from the parliamentary agenda at short notice earlier this month, the German government’s landmark amendment to the citizenship law is once again moving forward. According to a new report, the first reading of the bill is due to take place on December 1 this year.
Updated draft German citizenship law to be debated on December 1
The new law on German citizenship was headed for its first reading in the Bundestag on November 9, but was scrapped suddenly when the FDP party raised concerns about people with anti-Semitic views being able to gain citizenship under the looser requirements.
The draft law did contain lines excluding applicants from obtaining citizenship if they were convicted of antisemitic, racist, xenophobic or inhuman acts, but some politicians were in favour of strengthening the wording of this section to require applicants to explicitly acknowledge Israel’s right to exist, in view of the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war.
The law has now reportedly undergone some amendments - although it has not been made explicit whether, or exactly how, this wording has been updated - and is set to be debated by the Bundestag on Friday, December 1. This will be its first of three readings; on the third reading, the new law will be put to the vote, and it is widely expected to pass.
Dual citizenship law could come into force in April 2024
Many laws passed by the Bundestag also need to be approved by the Bundesrat as well, but since the law doesn’t primarily affect administration in the federal states, parliamentarians have said that the Bundesrat’s approval will not be required. This means that the legislation could be passed as soon as April next year.
The bill introduces a range of sweeping reforms to German citizenship laws, including scrapping the ban on dual citizenship, allowing both EU and non-EU citizens to hold both a German passport and the passport of their country of origin. It will also reduce the standard residence requirement for citizenship from eight years to five, or three in certain circumstances. People over the age of 67 will be able to gain citizenship without having to prove their German language proficiency.
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