France grants citizenship to 12,000 foreigners as a reward for working on the front lines during the Covid pandemic
- More than 12,000 foreign-born frontline workers have been granted French citizenship
- Thanks to a special arrangement, they could apply after two years in France, instead of five
- The gesture was made to thank them for serving the nation during Covid-19
France has granted citizenship to more than 12,000 foreign-born health workers to thank them for their services during the Covid crisis, the government said on Thursday.
These essential workers include security guards, cashiers and other frontline workers.
Marlene Schiappa, junior interior minister in charge of citizenship, said more than 16,000 people had applied for French passports under a special scheme last year.
More than 12,000 foreign-born frontline workers were granted French citizenship after applying under a special arrangement after two years instead of five. In the photo: Marlene Schiappa
The scheme accelerated application processes for workers in essential services, allowing them to apply for citizenship after just two years in France, instead of the usual five.
Of these, 12,012 were French, she said.
Other categories of workers eligible for the scheme include garbage collectors, home care providers and nannies.
“These frontline workers were there for the nation. It is normal for the nation to make a gesture in their favor,” Schiappa said in a statement.
The gesture was made to thank them for serving the nation during Covid-19, the government said on Thursday. Pictured: A man undergoes a PCR test in Paris in August
In 2020, a total of 61,371 people acquired French nationality.
A number of them were invited at the beginning of the school year to Place Beauvau in Paris, where the offices of the Ministry are located.
Like most of Europe, France imposed a strict lockdown in early 2020 and introduced more lenient confinement and mask-wearing measures in the months that followed to contain the virus.
Hospital admissions and infections have declined in recent weeks after the government stepped up vaccination measures, with more than 62 percent of the population now fully vaccinated.