If one group of people need to be rewarded, appreciated, and respected for their services during the pandemic, it is the frontline workers. This group has been at the forefront of the battle against the coronavirus pandemic, at great personal risk, protecting the community and ensuring that everyone else is safe.
And France is doing its bit to reward the selfless service of the frontline workers.
The government of France recently invited immigrant frontline workers that have helped battle the coronavirus pandemic to apply for accelerated naturalization. These frontline workers include healthcare workers, housekeepers, cleaners, cashiers, childcare workers, shop workers, and garbage collectors.
“Foreign workers gave their time and swung into action for all of us during the Covid crisis,” said Marlène Schiappa, France’s junior minister for citizenship. “It is now up to the Republic to take a step toward them.”
As part of this expediated citizenship initiative, 74 people have already been grated citizenship while another 693 applications are in the final stages. Close to three thousand applications have been received.
This initiative is a marked departure from the otherwise stringent immigration process that France follows. Among the many ways of being granted French citizenship are through marriage, by being born to a French parent, by being born in France, and through the process of naturalization. Ideally, to become a naturalized French citizen, one needs to reside in France for a period of five years, have sturdy resources, and be integrated into the French society.
However, as part of this initiative, the government officials have reduced the residency period in France mandatory to obtain citizenship by naturalization from the conventional five years to a mere two years.
Unfortunately, France is among the top 10 nations that have been heavily impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Didier Leschi, the director of the French Office of Immigration and Integration, said the fast-tracking measure was part of “a long tradition that can be traced back to the French Revolution, which is to grant citizenship to the benefactors of the country.”
Isn’t this a great reward for the healthcare workers that have selflessly worked to keep the community safe? Let us know your views on this initiative in the comments section below.