France Rewards Frontline COVID-19 Workers With Citizenship

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Health workers take nasal swabs from people for both Covid-19 antigen and RT-PCR tests at a drive-through testing site in Marseille on December 21, 2020. (Photo by Christophe SIMON / AFP)

Hundreds of foreigners in France whose jobs expose them to high Covid-19 risks will be naturalised quickly for their commitment during the health crisis, the interior ministry said Tuesday.

The ministry had in September invited people who “actively contributed” to the fight against the novel coronavirus to apply for fast-track naturalisation.

Of the nearly 3,000 people who responded, 74 had already obtained citizenship and 693 more were in the final stage of the process, the office of Marlene Schiappa, junior minister for citizenship, said in a statement.

“Health professionals, cleaning ladies, childcare workers, checkout staff: They all proved their commitment to the nation, and it is now the turn of the republic to take a step towards them,” it said.

Additionally, immigration authorities have been ordered to reduce the residency period needed for citizenship to two years from the usual five in the case of “great services rendered.”

Last year, some 112,000 foreigners acquired French nationality, including more than 48,000 by naturalisation — 10 percent fewer than in 2018.

AFP

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