Politicians, the media, and the public express concern that many immigrants fail to integrate economically. Research shows that the option to naturalize has considerable economic benefits for eligible immigrants, even in countries with a tradition of restrictive policies. An article by Christina Gathmann published in IZA World of Labor shows that the benefits of naturalization for first-generation immigrants are significant.
Citizenship results in higher wage growth, more stable employment relationships, and increased upward mobility into better-paid occupations and sectors. A better assimilation of immigrants in the labor market in turn also benefits destination countries through fiscal gains and better social cohesion. As such, liberalizing access to citizenship could be a key policy instrument toward improving the rate of economic integration of immigrants in the host country.
Germany is a case in point: In 2000, the country shortened the waiting period for immigrants to become eligible for citizenship from 15 to eight years of residence in Germany. The gains from easier access to citizenship are particularly apparent among immigrants from poorer countries and among women. In contrast to other countries like France, however, acquiring German citizenship seems to have no effect on labor market participation.
See also the German media coverage in DIE WELT.