BRITS presently living in Germany could be offered a fast-track path to citizenship if calls from the country’s Green party are heeded.
A growing force in German politics, the Greens are requesting that the government reduce the mandatory time a candidate for citizenship must have lived in the country for the estimated 100,000 British nationals who are resident there.
“In the light of Brexit they need a clear perspective that they can stay in Germany,” said Katrin Goring-Eckardt, leader of the Greens in parliament.
“In Germany there are more than 107,000 well-integrated Britons with their families, in roles ranging from researchers to students, entrepreneurs and key workers in a range of businesses…I call on the federal government to simplify the immigration procedure for Britons ahead of Brexit.”
Thousands of Brits across the continent who have close familial ties or long term residence in EU countries are applying for citizenship before Article 50 is invoked and the narrow window of opportunity becomes much tighter.
At present Brits in Germany can apply for dual citizenship but this privilege will be lost once the UK officially leaves the union, after which many will be forced to choose one or the other.
Britons hoping to gain German citizenship currently must have spent around eight years living and working there, significantly less if they have made a special contribution to the country, or are married to a German. An intermediate level of German and knowledge of the country’s history and culture must also be demonstrated.
Angel Merkel’s government has not answered the letter directly but revealed a favourable attitude to its premise, pointing out that citizenship regulations are flexible and could be resolved on a case-by-case basis.
It has also enthusiastically supported the idea of attracting young, educated Brits to the country before it is too late, noting the significant contribution to the economy by a large expat population comprised chiefly of workers not pensioners.
Vice-chancellor Sigmar Gabriel has called upon countries across the EU to offer young Brits dual citizenship, arguing that “the youth of Great Britain are more clever than their bizarre political elite.”