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efms Migration Report

April 2005

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EU Council meeting of the interior ministers in Luxembourg

At the occasion of a council meeting held on 14th April 2005 in Luxembourg, the EU interior ministers discussed the proposal of EU commissioner Frattini to triplicate the EU expenditures for its home affairs and justice policies to almost € 8.3 billion in the financial period from 2007 to 2013. It is planned to use EU funds to foster, inter alia, areas such as border control, asylum policy and the integration of foreign nationals. Federal Interior Minister Otto Schily (SPD) has rejected this proposal, declaring that national responsibilities in areas such as border control and integration policy should primarily also be funded out of national budgets. The interior ministers of Italy, Greece and Cyprus sharply criticised Schily"s position. Moreover, the possibilities of establishing a cooperation with Libya was discussed to allow refugees to be interviewed well before reaching EU"s external borders. It is discussed to render assistance in the management of asylum petitions, the training of members of the Libyan border police, the setting-up of an well-structured visa and immigration system and the taking back of refugees. The refugee organisation Amnesty International criticised this plan stating that the EU was working on a merely technical solution to the refugee problem and would ignore human rights violations in Libya.
FR online 15.04.05 // FAZ 15.04.05 // Die Welt 15.04.05 // Die Welt online 15.04.05 // SZ 15.04.05

Visa affair: German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer assumes responsibility

In his testimony before the visa committee of the German Federal Parliament on 25th April 2005 about irregularities concerning the issue of visas, German Minister for Foreign Affairs Joschka Fischer (Greens) declared to be personally responsible for the errors that have occurred at his ministry. Like at several occasions before, Fischer confirmed that a decree issued in autumn 1999 had "fatal consequences" in particular: according to this decree, travel insurance vouchers could be used as warrants for the issue of visas. The essence of this decree was included in the so-called "Volmer Decree" of March 2000. Furthermore, Fischer admitted that he had learned about the problems as early as June 2000 at the occasion of a visit to the German embassy in Kiev. Nonetheless, senior officials of the ministry had insufficiently controlled the implementation of the stipulated provisions. "I should have been informed and should have taken action at an earlier time", he said. However, Fischer refused to resign from his office.
BZ 06.04.05 // BZ 26.04.05 // NZZ 26.04.05 // SZ 26.06.05 // Die Welt 27.04.05 // SZ 27.04.05

Extension of law on the posting of workers to all industry sectors likely

On 13th April 2005, the red-green Federal Government agreed on a possible extension of the law on the posting of workers to all industry sectors. The issue will be evaluated by the task force established for "fighting against the misuse of the freedom to provide services and the freedom of establishment". Background of the initiative is the ousting of German workers of slaughterhouses in North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony by labour immigrants as well as the increasing number of allegedly self-employed persons from eastern European countries offering their services to the German construction industry. It is planned to increasingly deploy the police and customs authorities, to control more strictly the required documents of EU workers and to refuse the issue of business licenses in case of suspected misuse. Furthermore, it is also taken into consideration to introduce minimum wages - so far only existing in the construction industry - to the cleaning contractors and the meat processing industries. It is planned to present the corresponding bill by mid May.
Federal Government online 13.04.05 // taz 14.04.05

Mosques to support vocational training campaign among young Turkish residents

The prayer leaders of 750 mosques in Germany are willing to encourage young Turkish residents to start vocational trainings. According to Ulrich Kasparick, parliamentary undersecretary at the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, only 27% of young people with a Turkish migration background decide to start vocational training courses. Among young Germans, the corresponding percentage is twice as high. According to Fatma Sarigöz, project officer at the co-ordination centre "Vocational training in foreign enterprises", the number of young foreign residents starting a vocational training has been continuously declining since 1994. Seventy per cent of the unemployed foreign residents have not passed any vocational training. The vocational training initiative now launched in Cologne, is to be extended even this year to further German cities with a high percentage of Turkish residents, such as Berlin, Dortmund, Frankfurt or Hamburg.
Die Welt 18.04.05

Foreign junior professors at German universities

Until December 2004, 786 junior professors have been given employment at 65 German colleges and universities. Fifty-five of these new posts have been occupied by scientists from abroad, 40 of whom are German scientists who had returned to their country of origin. While Edelgard Bulmahn, the Federal Minister of Education and Research, considers this a success in fighting "brain-drain" tendencies in Germany, the Union opposition parties (CDU/CSU) criticised the small number of German scientists that could be convinced to come back to Germany from abroad.
Welt am Sonntag 10.04.05

Trials for membership in islamist-terrorist organisations

On 6th April 2005, the Tunisian defendant Ishan Garnoui accused of forming a terrorist organisation was acquitted for the want of evidence by the Berlin Court of Appeal. However, he was sentenced to 3 years and 9 months of imprisonment for infringement of the Law on Firearms, the Foreigners Act and for tax evasion. On 8th April 2005, Kay Nehm, the Federal Public Prosecutor, lodged an appeal from the judgement of said court, arguing that the evaluation of evidence of the court constituted errors of law and the requirements on the evidence of guilt were too high.

Another trial for membership in a foreign terrorist organisation was opened on 19th April 2005 before the Bavarian Higher Regional Court of Munich. Lokman Mohammed, the 31-year-old defendant, is charged of having rendered logistic and financial support to the terrorist organisation of "Ansar al Islam" (Supporters of Islam) based in northern Iraq from his place of residence in Munich since the end of 2002.
NZZ 07.04.05 // FR 07.04.05 // FR 11.04.05 // SZ 16.04.05 // Der Spiegel 18.04.05 // SZ 19.04.05 // SZ 20.04.05 // SZ 21.04.05

Expulsion of islamists

The Muslim preacher Hammed Q., who was expelled for incitement to hatred and violence against segments of the population and anti-Semitic statements in the public, had anticipated his imminent deportation from Bavaria and left Germany voluntarily. According to the Bavarian Interior Minister Beckstein, ten islamists have been expelled from Bavaria or have left the country voluntarily since the beginning of the year. Expulsion orders have been issued against another 13 while nine further cases are pending. Following a ruling of the State Constitutional Court issued on 14th April 2005, also the the controversially discussed Imam Yakup Tasci from Berlin will face deportation. However, Tasci lodged an appeal from this ruling before the Federal Constitutional Court. The main proceedings are expected not be opened before May. According to § 55, paragraph 1, of the Residence Law (discretionary expulsion) included in the Immigration Act which entered into force on 1st January 2005, a foreign national can be expelled if his or her residence constitutes an impairment of the public security and order or of other substantial interests of the Federal Republic of Germany.
BZ 15.04.05 // BZ 16.04.05 // Press release of the Bavarian State Ministry of the Interior 18.04.05 // NN 19.04.05

Brandenburg bans neo-Nazi groups. Large-scale raid in three federal states

On 12th April 2005, the ministry of interior of the state of Brandenburg has banned the right-wing extremist organisation "Kameradschaft Hauptvolk" (comradeship leading nation) and its subsection named "Sturm 27" (storm 27). In more than 40 searches of premises conducted primarily in Brandenburg, but also in Saxony-Anhalt and Lower Saxony, several hundreds of CDs containing right-wing music, computers, publications and National Socialist devotional objects were ceased too. Around 300 police officers were deployed in the raids.
Die Welt 13.04.05

Berlin: Introduction of the compulsory school subject of "Lebenskunde/Ethik/Religion" (social education/ethics/religious instruction)

With the start of school year 2006/07, the red-red government in the Senate of Berlin plans to introduce the compulsory school subject "social education/ethics/religious instruction" as from the seventh school year. It would be the first German state to introduce such subject. The traditional religious instruction classes are to be maintained as voluntary school subject. The corresponding decision taken at the party conference of the Berlin SPD party has sparked heated debates. In a joint call published by the Jewish parish, the Protestant Church of Berlin-Brandenburg-schlesische Oberlausitz and the Archbishopric, they claim that the pupils should be given the opportunity to decide themselves whether to take the subject of "ethics/philosophy" or to attend the "religious instruction" classes. Also Federal Chancellor Gerhard Schröder (SPD), the leader of the CDU, Angela Merkel and the Central Committee of the German Catholic Church (ZdK) upheld these critics.
FAZ 06.04.05 // SZ 08.04.05 // Die Welt 11.04.05 // Die Welt 14.04.05 // Die Welt 15.04.05 // Die Welt 16.04.05

Report of commission for hardship cases for Berlin: 280 deportations prevented

The commission for hardship cases in Berlin has hold five meetings in the first three months of 2005 to discuss more than 151 cases, some of which referring to several family members. Thirty-three cases have been decided in favour of the applicants on the basis of existing laws. Twelve cases have been postponed. As regards the remaining 106 cases, the members of the commission for hardship cases filed a petition for hardship cases in 98 instances with the Senator of the Interior, of which 97 have already been decided. In 57 cases, the Senator followed the opinion of the hardship commission and ordered the aliens department of the local administration to issue residence permits, whereas in 40 cases he refused the petition for hardship without giving reasons. A total of 280 persons, who otherwise would have been expelled, were granted residence permits.
Press release of the commissioner for integration of the Berlin Senate 07.04.2005 // BZ 08.04.05

Berlin: One out of three foreign residents unemployed

According to the data report "Integration and Migration in Berlin" presented by the Günter Piening, commissioner for integration in Berlin, on 13th April 2005, the unemployment rate among non-German residents reaches 37.9% which is twice as much as the average figure for the overall population which amounts to 17.4%. Moreover, 16% of the migrants over the age of 65 were dependent on welfare payments in 2003. Compared to that, the portion of Germans reached 1.5%.
Die Welt online 14.04.05

BGH ruling: gap in the law on human smuggling to constitute a criminal offence

The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) has decided that the sentencing of human smugglers depends on strict requirements that must be fulfilled. In a trial on Ukrainian and Russian prostitutes who came to Germany with tourist visas, the BGH set partly aside the sentence of the District Court of Darmstadt pronounced against an accomplice of the women, stating that a tourist visa would be valid irrespective of the holder"s intention to illegally take up employment in Germany. On such grounds, accomplices could not be sentenced automatically for illegal human trafficing (Ref.: 2 StR 457/04). According to the judge Ruth Rissing-van Saan, there would be a gap in the law regarding the definition of criminal offences which could be filled by the legislator only. In the legislative history of the Immigration Act that entered into force on 1st January 2005, the legislator expressly stated that the true intentions of the visa holder were not to be of relevance for the judging of the legality of his or her entry to Germany. Now, representatives of all political parties have called for a quick taking of legal remedies. Federal Interior Minister Otto Schily (SPD) announced plans to quickly fill the "criminal liability gap identified by the BGH" in order to avoid a state of legal uncertainty and deficiencies in fighting human smuggling.
Die Welt 28.04.05 // BZ 28.04.05 // BMI press release 28.04.05 // SZ 28.04.05 // Handelsblatt 29.04.05

Asylum statistics

In April, a total of 2,266 persons have submitted a petition for political asylum in Germany. Compared to March 2005, the number of asylum seekers has thus increased by 1.9% (+43 persons). Compared to April 2004, respective figures have fallen by 24.8% (-749 persons). The main countries of origin in April 2005 were Serbia and Montenegro (463), Turkey (237) and the Russian Federation (152), followed by Iraq (135) and Iran (71). In April 2005, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees has reviewed the petitions of 4,578 asylum seekers, 43 (0.9%) of whom have been recognised as entitled to political asylum. A further 284 persons (6.2%) have been granted protection against expulsion according to §60, paragraph 1, Residence Act (Aufenthaltsgesetz). The petitions of 2,285 applicants (49.9%) have been rejected. The cases of another 1,966 persons (43.0%) have been closed for other reasons, for example because applicants have withdrawn their petitions.
Press release BMI 10.05.05

April 2005

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