A bill enabling dual citizenship in Germany has been passed in the Bundestag. The law will facilitate the transition to German citizenship and remove the obstacle to dual citizenship.
The bill, which was presented to the Parliament by the center-left coalition government led by Olaf Scholz, was accepted with 382 votes against 234, while 23 MPs abstained in the vote.
The government argues that this step will facilitate the integration of migrants and contribute to attracting skilled workers to the country.
However, the main opposition center-right bloc harshly criticized the initiative, arguing that the law would 'cheapen' German citizenship.
"This is not a citizenship modernization bill, it is a citizenship devaluation bill," Christian Democratic Party MP Alexander Throm said in an address to lawmakers.
The law, titled "Modernization of the Citizenship Law", reduces the period of legal residence required to acquire German citizenship from 8 to 5 years.
In addition, this period is reduced to 3 years in case of "special integration successes" of the person who wants to naturalize.
Naturalized citizens will no longer have to give up their previous citizenship, thus enabling multiple citizenship.
In addition, children born in Germany will automatically become citizens if one of their parents has been legally resident in Germany for five years.
The "option model", which previously allowed for dual citizenship and forced young people to choose between their parents' citizenship or German citizenship until the age of 23, will be scrapped.
The government says that 14 percent of the population (12 million out of 84.4 million) do not have citizenship, 5.3 million of whom have lived in Germany for at least ten years.
According to statistics, the naturalization rate in Germany is well below the EU average.
Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said the reform brings Germany in line with its European neighbors such as France and pointed to the need to attract more skilled workers.
"We need to make an offer to qualified people from around the world, such as from the US and Canada, that includes naturalization as German citizens," Faeser told reporters ahead of the vote.
The new law stipulates that naturalized citizens must be able to support themselves and their relatives financially.
Those convicted of anti-Semitism, racism and xenophobia will not be granted German citizenship. Citizenship offices will work more closely with prosecutors' offices on this issue.
Polygamists or those who violate the constitutional equality between men and women will also be denied citizenship.