Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) has campaigned for a reform of citizenship laws and easier naturalizations, but has argued in favor of this with extremely exaggerated figures. At an event organized by the federal government’s integration minister, Reem Alabali-Radovan (SPD), entitled “Germany: An immigration country,” he doubled the number of foreign nationals actually working in Germany, according to a fact-check by German newspaper, Junge Freiheit.
Scholz said, “Nine million citizens live and work in our country without having German citizenship.” Subsequently, almost all media have adopted this claim. But in fact, according to the Federal Statistical Office, only 4.5 million foreign nationals living in Germany are employed, and are thus subject to social insurance contributions. This is only half as many as the German chancellor claimed.
Scholz: “Those who work here should be able to vote”
The figure is significant because Scholz linked it to his main argument that “those who live and work here permanently should also be able to vote and be elected.
“They should be part of our country with all the rights and duties that go with it – and completely independent of origin, skin color or religious confession,” he added.
According to official figures, a total of 11.8 million foreigners currently reside in Germany. If 9 million were actually working here, this would equate to an employment rate among migrants of 76.3 percent. However, in Germany as a whole, only 40.7 percent of all residents are employed and subject to social insurance contributions. The rest are children, pensioners, the unemployed, and welfare recipients.
Only 38.5 percent of foreign nationals work
According to the Federal Statistical Office, the rate of non-Germans working in Germany is below average at 38.5 percent.
Plans put forward by Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) would see foreign nationals naturalized after five years of residence in Germany, instead of the current eight years. In addition, it is to be generally permitted in the future for them to have multiple citizenships. This was also emphasized yesterday by Chancellor Scholz in the matter of naturalizations: “As far as multiple citizenships is concerned: I have never understood why we insisted on (just one). After all, belonging and identity are not a zero-sum game,” he said.