France Rewards More Than 12,000 Frontline Immigrant Workers with Citizenship

Αssociated Press

A medical technician administers nasal swabs at a mobile testing site in Paris, Monday, July 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

PARIS — France has given citizenship to more than 12,000 health care workers, grocery cashiers and others who carried out essential work during the pandemic and repeated lockdowns.

A year ago, the government offered a special, accelerated citizenship procedure to front-line workers amid the virus crisis. The minister in charge of citizenship issues, Marlene Schiappa, announced the results on Thursday.

Of 16,381 people who applied, 12,012 “have become French,” she said in a statement.

“Health workers, security and cleaning workers, childcare workers, cashiers, home aid workers, garbage collectors ... the Republic is honored to welcome these new French citizens,” she said.

France imposed a strict lockdown in early 2020 and milder confinement measures later to help contain surges of the virus. Hospitalizations and infections have been subsiding in recent weeks after the government stepped up vaccination measures.