Home South Africa German Interior Ministry defends plan to ease citizenship rules – SABC News

German Interior Ministry defends plan to ease citizenship rules – SABC News


Germany’s interior ministry on Monday defended a government plan to make it easier for people to apply for citizenship, in the face of complaints from the coalition and opposition that it could encourage illegal immigration.

The government has said it wants to boost immigration and training to tackle a skills shortage weighing on the economy at a time when an aging population is putting pressure on the public pension system.

“This is the central plan of this coalition along with the clear recognition that Germany is a country of immigration,” a ministry spokesman said when asked by reporters about the complaints.

“We are talking about the intentions, which are spelled out in great detail in the coalition agreement,” he said at the press conference.

Interior Minister Nancy Feiser of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) hopes to reduce the maximum number of years a person must wait before becoming a citizen from eight to five and lift restrictions on dual citizenship. German language citizenship requirements will also be eased for members of the so-called guest worker generation, many of whom are Turks who came to Germany in the 1950s and 60s as migrant workers.

The draft could undergo changes as it heads to other government departments for consultation in the coming days, after which it must be approved by the three-party cabinet and then presented to lawmakers in the Bundestag parliament.

The general secretary of the FDP, the junior partner in the coalition with the SPD and Greens environmentalists, spoke out against the plan. In an interview with the Rheinische Post, Bijan Jir-Sarai questioned his timing, condemning the lack of progress on deportations and the fight against illegal migration.

The conservative opposition also criticized the ministry’s proposal, with Alexander Dabrindt of the Bavarian CSU party telling the Bild newspaper that the reforms would have an “attractive effect for illegal migration”.

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