Expert Council thinks the barriers to naturalization are too high | Free press


Berlin (dpa) – The Expert Council for Integration and Migration (SVR) has recommended federal and state governments to lower the practical hurdles to naturalization.

Naturalization procedures must be nationally standardized and user-friendly, the advisory committee states in its annual report published Tuesday.

In a European comparison, the proportion of foreigners naturalized in Germany is relatively low. This results in a lack of political participation of people with a migrant background. Only in Denmark, Austria, Slovakia and Lithuania would fewer people become citizens through naturalization.

According to the SVR, the special Brexit effect in 2019 meant that the naturalization rate among Britons living in Germany was higher than among foreigners of other nationalities. And in absolute numbers, Turkish citizens made up the largest group with 16,235 naturalisations in the same year. However, only 1.2 percent of the Turks made use of the option to have themselves naturalized. Of the Syrians, 19.7 percent of those who had the opportunity to do so on the basis of length of stay and other criteria did.

As a rule, a foreigner has to wait eight years before applying for naturalization – this is faster for immigrants entering into a marriage or registered partnership with a German or a German.

In the SVR’s view, “turbo-naturalization” should be made possible after four years of residence if foreigners are particularly well integrated, speak German very well, have clearly relocated their life center to Germany and if their statement of police clearance is impeccable.

In the opinion of the experts, the naturalization test should not be overestimated. The questions are known; since its introduction in 2009, more than 90 percent of the participants have passed. The fees or the language test were more of a deterrent.

Turks in particular often cite the desire not to give up their old citizenship as an obstacle. The SVR supports the “generation cut model” here. It stipulates that dual nationality would initially be accepted upon naturalization. The transfer of original citizenship would then be interrupted in the next generation or next generation.

In a comparison of the federal states, Hamburg and Thuringia have the highest naturalization rate in years – four percent of eligible persons have recently taken their German passport. In Berlin and Saarland, the rate was very low at 1.9 percent.

The Council of Economic Experts finds it problematic that after a short stay in Germany, EU nationals are allowed to vote and run for candidates at municipal level, but foreigners of other nationality are not. A prominent example of a foreign local politician is the non-party mayor of Rostock, Claus Ruhe Madsen, who is known for his unusual anti-corona strategy. The entrepreneur is a Dane and says he has no plans to become a German.

The SVR experts consider a municipal right to vote for foreigners from non-EU countries desirable. However, they assume that this may require a constitutional amendment.

In their annual report, referring to some studies, they indicate that states formed by the welfare state, such as Germany or the Scandinavian states, tend to attract less educated migrants. Other factors also played a role in the choice of country of destination, such as language. In general, benefits from a welfare state can negatively influence the migration decisions of migrants who have a good chance of finding work quickly in the destination country that matches their qualifications and who contribute to the financing of the welfare state through taxes and charges .

The Interdisciplinary Board of Experts was established in 2008 by eight private foundations. In December 2020, the federal government decided to take over the funding of the advisory body.