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16 January
Saturday

World

France is fast-tracking citizenship for front-line workers

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

Photo: AFP

/NOVOSTIVL/ The French interior ministry announced this week that more than 700 immigrants who are front-line workers in the fight against COVID-19 have been granted citizenship or in the final stage of obtaining it under an expedited system announced in September, the BBC reported.

"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," the ministry said in a statement.

Typically, a person must reside in France for at least five years before applying for citizenship. Under the expedited system, there is no such requirement, with the entire process taking just weeks.

About 2,900 people have applied for French citizenship under the expedited process, according to the BBC, with 74 having already obtained it and another 693 on the verge.

But France has not always been so welcoming.

In July, the European Court of Human Rights ordered French authorities to compensate three asylum-seekers who it said were "victims of degrading treatment," Deutsche Well reported, forced to sleep on the streets while their claims were processed amid a government effort to clear refugee camps.

As Amnesty International observed last year, French authorities also "harassed, intimidated, and even violently assaulted" those who have sought to provide humanitarian aid to migrants, part of "deliberate attempt to curtail acts of solidarity."

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