The French government traces nearly 700 applications for citizenship from foreign frontline workers who have distinguished themselves in the fight against COVID-19.
“Health workers, cleaners, childcare workers and shop assistants … They have proven their commitment to the nation. It is now up to the republic to take a step against them,” a statement released Tuesday by French junior citizenship Marlene Schiappas said. office.
As of Wednesday, France has nearly 2.5 million confirmed cases of coronavirus, and 61,702 people had died, according to the French government.
It can take years to complete French citizenship applications, and the global pandemic has led to further delays in the processing of paperwork. In September, as France supported another wave of the pandemic, the government called on regional officials to “facilitate” and “speed up” the naturalization process for foreign workers actively participating in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
In three months, more than 70 applicants have been granted citizenship through their service, and nearly 700 are in the final stages of receiving it, Schiappa’s office said. A total of 2,890 people have applied so far.
“They actively participated in the national effort with dedication and courage,” Schiappa wrote in a letter to regional authorities at the time.
In 2019, more than 112,000 people acquired French citizenship, including more than 48,000 through naturalization, which is 18% less than in 2015.
This initiative “is a long tradition that can be traced back to the French Revolution, which is to grant citizenship to benefactors in the country,” Didier Leschi, director of the French Office of Immigration and Integration, told Le Figaro.
This is not the first time that France has recognized contributions to the nation with citizenship.
In 2018 a young man from Mali was offered French citizenship and a job as a firefighter after scaling an apartment building to rescue a child dangling from a balcony. The three Americans who prevented a 2015 terrorist attacks on a Paris-bound train was also granted French citizenship in 2019.