The federal government’s anti-discrimination commissioner, Ferda Ataman, sees “a lot of catching up to do” in the planned reform of citizenship law. The cabinet wants to decide today on how to make it easier to get a German passport, after that it’s the Bundestag’s turn.

Ataman criticized the fact that those wishing to naturalize would have to prove that they could earn a living according to the plans. “People with disabilities, single parents and older people who receive subsistence benefits are often unable to meet the requirements for a secure livelihood,” she told the German Press Agency in Berlin. “The planned reform will make naturalization unnecessarily difficult for you.” Clear clarifications for cases of hardship are needed in the law so that discrimination is not encouraged.

German passport – with conditions

The federal government wants to introduce rules for faster naturalization today. The cabinet decides on a bill by Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD), which not only lowers requirements, but also allows multiple nationalities. Basically, migrants should get the German passport faster – but with conditions for economic and democratic integration.

Faeser described the draft law as a crucial key to Germany’s competitiveness. “We are in the middle of a global competition for the best minds,” said the editorial network Germany (RND). “But we will only attract the best minds if they can become a full part of our society in the foreseeable future.” Naturalization is expressly excluded for people who have committed crimes with anti-Semitic or racist motives.

For people who came to Germany as guest workers up to the 1970s or to the GDR as contract workers up to 1990, there should be lower language requirements. They should also not have to take a naturalization test. Ataman suggests in a statement for the interior committee, which is available to the dpa, that older people should be released from the formal proof of language proficiency, as this represents a high hurdle for many.

In principle, Ataman welcomed the fact that a reform is now coming. Of particular importance is the possibility of retaining one’s previous citizenship even after naturalisation, which was previously only possible for EU citizens.