A man holds up a passport with the EasyPass sign at the bottom during the presentation of the automated border control system easyPass at Frankfurt International Airport (Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images)


German Government finds ‘humanitarian’ consensus on deportation and naturalisation of migrants


The German “traffic-light” parliamentary groups have agreed on a compromise over the controversial issues of deportation and naturalisation.

Berlin intends to facilitate easier deportations and speed up naturalisation. The required adjustments to existing laws are expected to be made in the Bundestag in January.

In a brief joint statement on December 20, the parliamentary groups of the Socialist Party (SPD), Greens and Liberal FDP Party said that after “constructive negotiations” they had reached consensus “on important legislative projects that do justice to a modern immigration society and the principles of humanity and order”.

Unlike changes seen elsewhere in Europe and those demanded by the increasingly popular German anti-immigration party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), Berlin seems to be opting to loosen aspects of migration legislation.

The Federal Government’s draft law states that immigrants who can support themselves without Government assistance will be eligible to apply for citizenship after five years of residency in Germany.

At present they are obliged to reside in the country for a minimum of eight years before any such application.

It was also agreed upon that, after three years, naturalisation ought to be achievable if the subject “excels in volunteer work, language proficiency and academic performance”.

Furthermore, they should no longer be required to give up their previous passport to obtain a German one.

Citizens of the European Union and certain other “special cases” are already covered by this; individuals from Turkey, for instance, are not.

The coalition Government will make the laws stricter on some fronts.

In the agreement, Berlin aims to ensure that deportations do not fall through at the last minute as frequently as at present by “streamlining” the process. As part of this, the maximum period of incarceration of those awaiting deportation will now be 28 days instead of 10.

Greens and SPD parliamentary group members also proposed some exceptions that were not taken onboard. For example, they asked to allow naturalisation for individuals with disabilities and those who became unemployed due to circumstances beyond their control.