In 2020, France granted citizenship to a total of 61,371 foreign-born frontline workers
The frontline workers include healthcare workers, security guards, checkout workers, garbage collectors, home-care providers and nannies.
Die French government said that it was a way to thank them “for their services during the Covid-19 crisis.”
Marlene Schiappa, junior interior minister in charge of citizenship said that over 16,000 people had applied for a French passport over the past year under a special fast track scheme that allowed workers in essential services to apply for citizenship after just two years in France, instead of the usual five.
She said that 16,381 had applied and “of these, 12,012 became French. These front-line workers were there for the nation. It is normal that the nation makes a gesture in their favour,”Het sy bygevoeg.
In 2020, a total of 61,371 people acquired French citizenship.
The fast track citizenship scheme was first announced in September last year.
Egter, the announcement was met with concerns over whether citizenship is only granted to those considered “good” immigrants. Across France, protests have erupted in support of undocumented migrants.
John Spacey who worked as a carer for the elderly during the pandemic was one of those given fast-track citizenship earlier this year. He was quoted by The Local as saying: “It genuinely feels like a great honour to be offered citizenship.”
Mr Spacey said: “Just before Christmas I received the news I was to be given a one-off payment from the State as a kind of merci for services rendered during the crisis, something for which I was very grateful and that I’d not expected, given I’d been being paid for my work anyway.”
Hy het bygevoeg: “Then came another, far more unexpected, thank you – the chance to apply for French nationality six months earlier than would have been possible under the normal rules and to have the process fast-tracked. All for doing a job I love.”
Intussen, Ms Schiappa said on Thursday: “I welcome our new compatriots to French nationality and thank them in the name of the republic. The country also thanks them.”