Free World - September 15, 2021

Fouad Kerbage checked online nearly every day to see if he was now a French citi…


Fouad Kerbage checked online nearly every day to see if he was now a French citizen. When he spotted his name in a list of people whose applications got the green light this summer, it capped a long journey for the 33-year-old oncologist.

With his new passport, “a new page has opened” — in the words of Kerbage, who has lived in France since he studied there as a resident in 2017.

Like him, around 12,000 people have just become French, under a special fast-track program for workers standing on the front line of the battle against covid-19.

They include doctors, nurses, cleaning staff, cashiers and garbage collectors, France’s citizenship minister, Marlène Schiappa, said Thursday.

“These front-line workers responded to the call of the nation. It is normal for the nation to take a step toward them,” she added. “The country pulled through, thanks to them.”

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