The French government plans to fast-track citizenship for 700 foreign, essential workers who have dedicated their lives to helping the European nation fight the coronavirus

Junior Minister for Citizenship Marlène Schiappa announced that the third-largest European country will confer citizenship upon store clerks, child care professionals, domestic workers and health care professionals, according to The New York Times. 

"Foreign workers gave their time and swung into action for all of us during the COVID crisis," Schiappa told The Times. "It is now up to the Republic to take a step toward them."

In September, government officials extended the citizenship offer to people who "actively contributed" to curb the spread of COVID-19, Local France reported. 

An overwhelming 3,000 people responded to the invitation.

The French government has granted citizenship to over 70 candidates thus far, The Times reported. There are still 693 applications pending for the last step in the naturalization procedure.

Immigration specialists were commanded to reduce the five-year residency period to two years for the foreigners who rendered services during the pandemic.

"Some foreigners swung into action and were particularly exposed in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic," Schiappa wrote in a letter to French authorities at the time.

"They actively participated in the national effort, with dedication and courage," she added.

Schiappa took to Twitter to share the NYT article with her countrymen. The politician's efforts, the story and the new initiative garnered mixed reviews.

"The New York Times welcomes the granting of French citizenship to foreigners who worked on the front line during the confinement," she wrote. 

"Proud to welcome these new compatriots who have demonstrated their attachment to France."