Sep 11, 2021 - World

France grants citizenship to 12,000 COVID frontline workers

Photo of a nurse taking care of a patient in a hospital room
A nurse takes care of a patient infected with COVID-19 in the intensive care unit of Lyon-Sud Hospital in Pierre-Bénite, France. Photo: Jeff Pachoud/AFP via Getty Images

France granted citizenship to 12,000 COVID frontline workers this week in a show of gratitude for their efforts and sacrifices.

Why it matters: Immigrants comprise a quarter of the essential workers who remained active in the Île-de-France province during lockdowns, per data from a French health observatory.

  • "These frontline workers responded to the call of the nation," France’s citizenship minister, Marlène Schiappa, said in a statement. "The country pulled through thanks to them."

Details: Under the special program, France sped up cases for 12,012 new nationals out of more than 16,300 people who applied for citizenship, and decreased the requirement for residency from five years to two.

  • Newly minted citizens include doctors, nurses, cleaning staff, cashiers and garbage collectors, according to Schiappa.

Worth noting: Countries including Britain and the U.S. have faced calls to extend visas or allow indefinite residence for immigrant workers, the Washington Post reports.

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