Refugees as new citizens – the potential in the coming years

Policy Brief | June 2022

More and more of those who sought refuge in Germany in 2015/16 and who are now well integrated in society are applying for naturalisation. A total of 19,100 Syrian nationals were issued with a German passport in 2021, up almost three times compared to the previous year. As part of a research project the scientific staff of the Expert Council on Integration and Migration (SVR) projected the number of naturalisations by Syrian nationals in the coming years. According to those projections there is expected to be a considerable uptick in the years up until 2024 – provided the authorities are able to process a large number of applications without massive delays. The policy brief discusses concrete forecasts and addresses those steps that need to be taken to avoid both a “naturalisation backlog” and disappointing potential new citizens. Recruiting additional staff in the relevant authorities is key, but the digital transformation also has the potential to meet the mounting interest in naturalisation.