Migration: Easier naturalization: the majority is critical of reform plans

After the introduction of the so-called right of residence, the traffic light coalition is now preparing for its next reform steps in migration policy.

Migration: Easier naturalization: the majority is critical of reform plans

After the introduction of the so-called right of residence, the traffic light coalition is now preparing for its next reform steps in migration policy. However, the majority of Germans are not very enthusiastic about the Federal Ministry of the Interior's plans for easier naturalization. This is shown by the results of a representative survey by the opinion research institute YouGov on behalf of the German Press Agency.

The core of Interior Minister Nancy Faeser's (SPD) plans is to reduce the minimum residence period from eight to five years. In the case of special integration services, three years should suffice. In addition, dual citizenship should also be permitted in principle for non-EU citizens who want to become German.

Clear poll results

According to the survey, 59 percent of the citizens surveyed reject the draft reform of citizenship law. 37 percent of them declared that they "completely" rejected the project, while 22 percent expressed their disapproval. Only nine percent of those questioned fully endorsed the draft, while a further 22 percent were rather positive. One in ten either had no opinion on the question or did not provide any information.

According to the survey, Germans with a migration background rate the planned changes somewhat more positively than people without a family history of immigration. However, the trend is similar for both groups. In the east of Germany, the rejection of faster naturalization is somewhat stronger overall than in the west of the Federal Republic. Of the supporters of the Ampel parties surveyed, only those who stated that they had voted for the Greens in the last federal election supported the interior minister's proposal by majority.

FDP calls for improvement

The government parties are still discussing the project. While the Greens are by and large behind the interior minister's plans, the FDP has called for improvements. The planned reform of the Skilled Immigration Act, which is likely to be decided by the cabinet in the coming weeks, is less controversial between the traffic light partners.

However, the majority of citizens do not primarily attribute the current shortage of workers in certain sectors to excessive hurdles in obtaining work visas, but to low wages and unattractive working conditions.

labor shortage in Germany

When asked about the main reasons for the difficulties in finding nurses, teachers, craftsmen, IT specialists and other workers, 63 percent of the participants in the survey named "poor pay". Around a quarter of citizens see an insufficient range of care in daycare centers and schools, or the lack of young people who are able to work - as a result of demographic change - as the cause. Around 30 percent suspect that high bureaucratic and legal hurdles are a problem for skilled workers from abroad.

When asked by YouGov what, in their view, was the most important measure to remedy the labor shortage in Germany, higher wages and better working conditions were mentioned most frequently (38 percent). The answer variant "The job centers should take better care of the further training and placement of the unemployed" (14 percent) came in second. Every tenth person was in favor of raising the retirement age, making it easier to immigrate to Germany for gainful employment, keeping older workers who are more valued in their job longer and making training positions more attractive.

High tax burden and lack of digitization

According to the FDP domestic politician Ann-Veruschka Jurisch, the citizens of her Konstanz constituency say that it is important to them to only naturalize people who can support themselves economically and, on the other hand, people who integrate with us." . This attitude is also represented by her party.

Jurisch considers the demographic trend to be the main cause of the labor shortage. "With the Skilled Immigration Act, we want to lower the hurdles for foreign workers to counteract this." The fact that Germany is not always perceived as an attractive destination by skilled workers is also due to the high tax burden and the lack of digitization.

Lindholz wants to raise hurdles

The deputy chairwoman of the Union faction, Andrea Lindholz (CSU), considers the planned update for the law on skilled immigration, which was passed by black and red, to be superfluous. She thinks that the traffic light government would have done better "first of all, properly apply the new regulations with advertising measures and sufficient staff in the foreign missions." Instead, the traffic light wants to "bring unqualified people to Germany to a large extent in the future". In view of the large number of unemployed and the comparatively manageable number of vacancies in this segment of the labor market, this is the wrong way to go.

When it comes to naturalization, Lindholz sees no reason for facilitation, but even advocates raising the hurdles slightly, for example with increased requirements for the applicant's employment. The traffic light parties claimed they wanted to make citizenship law "more modern," said the CSU politician, "but who actually says that faster and easier naturalization is automatically more modern?"