Since the interior ministry invited eligible residents to apply for fast-track citizenship, 74 people have been granted accelerated naturalization and 693 others are in the final stages of the process.
The initiative is first announced in September this year and a total of 2,890 people have applied. A range of workers is eligible for the said citizenship process — from healthcare professionals, cleaners up to shop workers.
On December 22, the office of Marlene Schiappa, the junior minister for citizenship, said: “Health professionals, cleaning ladies, childcare workers, checkout staff: They all proved their commitment to the nation, and it is now the turn of the republic to take a step towards them.”
Under the normal naturalization process, the applicants must have lived in France for at least five years, had a stable income, and demonstrated integration into French society.
BBC News reported that the accelerated citizenship process in France only requires frontline workers to have lived in the country for two years, in recognition of their ‘great services rendered’.
This is not the first time that France rewarded contributions to the country with citizenship for immigrants.
Back in 2018, a man was awarded French citizenship after he rescued a small boy who was dangling from a balcony.
Mamoudou Gassama, later called a real-life ‘Spiderman’ climbed four floors with his bare hands to save the four-year-old boy.
Gassama had been in France illegally at the time but received international praise for his bravery.
“This act of great bravery exemplifies the values which help unite our national community, such as courage, selflessness, altruism, and taking care of the most vulnerable,” the government said at that time.