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First Study on the Impacts of Birthright Citizenship 20 Years After its Introduction

Twenty years ago, the German government (led by the Social Democrats and the Green Party) introduced birthright citizenship for children of foreign-born parents. Labor economist Dr. Christoph Sajons has studied the impact of this law on the labor market behavior of these parents.

With the introduction of a new citizenship law in May 1999, the government aimed to bridge social gaps and strive towards social cohesion. According to the new law, new-born children of migrants who had been living in Germany for at least eight years and who were in possession of an unlimited residence permit were automatically granted German citizenship.  It was the first time in German history that a government legitimized citizenship at birth (ius soli) in addition to citizenship granted by the right of blood (ius sanguinis), thereby substantially improving the starting conditions of migrant children in Germany. But has this reform also affected the integration of their foreign-born parents?

Labor economist Dr. Christoph Sajons from the Institut für Mittelstandsforschung in Mannheim, a center for medium-sized business research, has conducted a study in regard to this question, which was recently published in the renowned Labour Economics journal. In the study, Sajons examines if and how the situation of migrant parents on the labor market has changed through the new law. Do they continue working at their previous jobs after the birth of their child? If so, how many hours a week? The result of the study: While fathers show no significant changes in their labor market behavior, many mothers stay at home a while longer after birth.

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