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Over 100k foreigners have been waiting for three years to become German citizens

The number of foreigners waiting to become German citizens through naturalisation has surpassed 100,000, and many of them have been waiting for as long as three years.

According to a new article published by the German newspaper "Welt am Sonntag" based on a poll conducted in Germany's 25 most populous cities, such high numbers are the result of an increase in the number of foreigners applying and a lack of employees to process the applications.

“Around 26,000 applications are pending in Berlin, 10,000 of them from 2021,” the report claims.

Furthermore, around 18,000 applications for naturalisation are still being processed in Hamburg, Germany's second largest city, while another 10,000 applications have yet to be resolved in Munich.

“In all of the other major cities asked, four-digit applications piled up,” the report points out.

It also underlines the fact that, while most larger municipalities take a year to a year and a half to process petitions for naturalisation, some others take up to three years.

The Federal Immigration and Integration Council, Memet Kilic, has been accused and criticised for the delays, for failing to address one of the two reasons for the backlog of applications, namely a lack of staff to process the files on time.

If the authorities do not address the understaffing issue, the Federal Government's recent amendments to migration laws would exacerbate the backlog.

Among the most recent immigration changes in Germany is the new residence law, which went into force on January 1, 2023. The bill allows about 140,000 foreigners who have been in Germany under a tolerated status to achieve the essential criteria, such as obtaining a livelihood, to remain in Germany for an 18-month period through an 18-month residence visa.

The new residency law will also allow well-integrated young people aged 27 and under to stay in Germany for three years rather of four. Skilled workers, on the other hand, will be allowed to bring their families to Germany without having to earn a German language knowledge certificate.

During a visit to the new Federal Office for Foreign Affairs in Brandenburg on January 17, 2023, German Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock announced additional visa reforms to bring in more foreign workers and fill labour shortages in key sectors in Germany, saying that "procedures will be turned upside down" to achieve this goal.



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