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Syrians Granted German Citizenship Up 185% Year Over Year by Robert Semonsen

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Syrians Granted German Citizenship Up 185% Year Over Year

Official government figures have revealed that the number of Syrian nationals granted German citizenship increased by 185% in 2021 compared to the previous year, as many of those asylum seekers who arrived during the migrant crisis of 2015-16 became eligible for naturalization. 

The Federal Statistical Office of Germany (Destatis), in a press release published days ago, reported that a total of 131,600 foreigners obtained German citizenship in 2021, an increase of 20%, with about half of the increase attributable to the significant number of naturalizations of Syrians, most of whom entered the country in 2015-16, the Munich-based newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung reports.

The report notes that 2021 saw 19,100 Syrian nationals naturalized as German citizens, compared to the 6,700 who received citizenship in 2020, representing a nearly threefold increase year over year. The considerable uptick is mainly because the number of Syrians who have maintained residency in Germany for at least six years grew from 45,300 in 2020 to 106,300 in 2021.

The trend is unlikely to abate anytime soon. The Federal Statistical Office anticipates next year to see an even larger number of Syrian naturalizations since—at the beginning of 2022—the amount of Syrians who have lived in Germany for at least six years climbed to 449,000, more than four times as many as 2021.

After Syrians, the largest group of nationals who received German citizenship were Turks, at 12,000, followed by Romanians, at 6,900, and Poles, at 5,500. Altogether, Germany’s radical left-liberal granted citizenship to people from 173 different nationalities. Every fourth person had held an EU passport before their naturalization.

Although officially Germany requires at least eight years of residency to qualify for naturalization, the Syrians granted citizenship in 2021 on average had lived in the country for six years. The German state, however, made an exception for these asylum seekers, citing that all had demonstrated strong language skills and a commitment to civic engagement.

Presently, Germany’s radical left-liberal government is in the process of drafting large-scale amnesty legislation that, if passed, would see approximately 100,000 illegal immigrants granted residence permits—and a pathway to citizenship.

Previously, the liberal pro-business Freie Demokratische Partei—which is currently in the ruling coalition—has claimed that, for Germany’s pension system to remain viable in the future, a half a million migrants would need to be welcomed each year for the foreseeable future.

Robert Semonsen is a political journalist based in Central Europe. His work has been featured in various English-language news outlets in Europe and the Americas. He has an educational background in biological and medical science. His Twitter handle is @R_Semonsen.