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efms Migration Report

August 1996

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Bayern: language test as a prerequisite for naturalization

In the view of the Bavarian ministry of the interior, the naturalization of foreigners should be linked to an examination of German language skills. At the same time, Bavarian Interior Minister Beckstein agreed to a measure which would facilitate naturalization: foreigners would be entitled to naturalization after 10 years of residence instead of the 15 years which are presently required. According to existing practice foreigners are required to take a language test only in the case of naturalization by approval of the authorities (Ermessenseinbürgerung). Applicants entitled to German citizenship are not obliged to take a language test. Beckstein considers adequate language skills to be one of the most important conditions for integration.
SZ 31.7.96 // Focus 19.8.96

SPD proposal: immigration law with quota regulation

The SPD has followed the FDP and Bündnis 90/Die Grünen (Alliance 90/Green party) in submitting a detailed concept of an immigration law. According to the SPD proposal, the annual immigration would be limited by fixed quotas to 300,000 people, mainly Aussiedler (Eastern European citizens of German extraction) and asylum applicants. The SPD concept presupposes that Germany is a de facto country of immigration in need of statutory regulations adjusted to the job market and housing availability. Immigrants, furthermore, should be able to demonstrate democratic attitudes as well as sufficient language skills. At the same time the SPD renews its call for a modern citizenship law.
SZ 2.8.96 // Welt 2.8.96

CDU reform model for citizenship law

In response to the call for reform made by three young CDU Bundestag members the CDU is seeking a compromise on citizenship law. In a reform proposal, the deputy chairman of the CDU Bundestag group, Scholz, favours facilitating the naturalization of third-generation foreigners not by granting automatic citizenship at birth, as called for by the young reformers, but rather upon application. Since the compromise model provides for avoiding double citizenship, it is likely to find widespread acceptance in the CDU.
taz 8.8.96 // SZ 9.8.96

Federal Court of Administration: no asylum for Bosnian Muslims

According to a ruling of the federal administrative court in Berlin, Muslim refugees who fled from Serbian persecution in Bosnia are not entitled to political asylum in Germany because the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina is capable of protecting the Muslims within its territory from persecution. However, according to the ruling , since the Muslims are protected as civil war refugees they may not be deported. This ruling cancels a decision of the administrative court of Münster which had justified granting asylum to Bosnian Muslims on the grounds that they were in danger of being persecuted by Bosnian Serbs if they returned and that there was no possiblity for escape within the state. Federal Minister of the Interior Kanther hailed the decision as a confirmation of the decision of the interior ministers to repatriate the refugees.
SZ 7.8.96 // FR 7.8.96 // FAZ 8.8.96

Bogus marriage ground for deportation

According to a ruling of the supreme administrative court of Koblenz, a foreigner"s residence permit may be rescinded if it is proven that he or she had received the permit on the basis of a bogus marriage to a German partner. He or she will not receive a resident permit until a decision has been reached.
dpa 1.8.96 // FR 2.8.96

Immigrant smuggling over German borders

The federal ministry of the interior announces that in the first half of this year, fewer persons have been caught attempting to cross the German border illegally (11,779 cases in contrast with 13,779 cases in the first six months of 1995). The ministry attributes this reduction to the improved performance of border controllers at the borders to Poland and the Czech Republic. However, the authorities view with concern the growing professionalization and international networking of the immigrant smuggler gangs. In the first half of 1996 1,093 immigrant smugglers were apprehended. Most of the smuggled foreigners were Eastern Europeans (Romanians and "Rump" Yugoslavs).
FAZ 9.8.96

UNICEF demands improved protection for refugee children

The children"s relief agency of the United Nations, UNICEF, has voiced criticism that unaccompanied refugee children in Germany are not, in UNICEF"s opinion, awarded adequate protection and that the often severely traumatized children do not receive adequate psychological care. The agency demands a general limited residence permit for children and the establishment of care-centers. According to UNICEF estimates there are around 10,000 refugee children living in Hamburg alone, 3,000 of whom are unaccompanied.
FR 9.8.96

Kinkel in favor of unified plan for repatriation of Yugoslavian refugees

Federal Foreign Minister Kinkel (FDP) has proposed setting up a "round table" to determine a unified procedure for repatriating civil war refugees from ex-Yugoslavia. Participants would include representatives of the federal government, the Länder and communal government as well as from churches and welfare agencies. Bavaria"s Interior Minister Beckstein announces that repatriation of refugees originating from relatively calm areas will begin on October 1. Federal Interior Minister Kanther remains committted to the decision to begin repatriation on October 1; however, he has implied that the process will be flexible and not forced.
Welt 19.8.96 // NZ 19.8.96 // FR 19.8.96 // FAZ 21.8.96

Asylum appeals at federal administrative court

In the first seven months of this year 489 appeals against negative decisions on asylum have been submitted to the federal constitutional court in Karlsruhe. Until now the court has found the rejection of asylum applications to be unconstitutional in eight cases.
FR 21.8.96 // taz 21.8.96

German authorities encounter difficulties in deporting Vietnamese

The foreign office has voiced the opinion that the halting implementation of the German-Vietnamese repatriation agreement is not only the fault of the Vietnamese government but of the federal ministry of the interior as well. Foreigner and police authorities as well as the border patrol were encountering considerable practical problems in serving legally binding notice and in carrying out deportation.
SZ 21.8.96

Minimum wage for construction workers to counteract cheap foreign labour competition

The parties involved in negotiating wages in the construction sector have agreed on a binding minimum wage of DM 17 in western Germany and DM 15.64 in the east. Before this agreement can become effective the umbrella organization of employers must also gives its approval. This minimal wage would have to be paid to foreign as well as German workers on German construction sites. According to estimates from the association of construction employers, there are 190,000 unemployed construction workers in Germany, while 20,000 foreign workers are being employed at low wages.
taz 24.8.96

Bayern: concern about border security due to Austria joining Schengen countries

Austria, which became a signatory to the Schengen Agreement a year ago, aims to meet the conditions stipulated in the Schengen Agreement by July 1, 1997. The Bavarian government points out the dangers which may arise when the border controls at the Bavarian-Austrian border are discontinued. The government is concerned about the possible increase of border-crossing criminality. Austria, according to Bavarian authorities, does not have specially-trained forces to carry out the necessary controls at the borders to Eastern Europe.
SZ 24.8.96

Statistics: illegal immigration

Federal Interior Minister Kanther has announced that according to the new annual report of the Federal Security Patrol (BGS) immigrant smuggling was effectively fought and reduced last year. The interior minister attributed this success to the intensified deployment of the BGS which arrested 2,323 immigrant smugglers in 1995 (30% more than in 1994); furthermore, 29,604 persons were apprehended attempting to enter Germany illegally at the eastern borders where 80% of the illegal immigrants enter Germany. A total of 125,742 persons were turned back at the border, and 36,455 were deported mainly by airplane. According to the report, the number of illegal immigrants caught in 1995 was 4.7% lower than in 1994. The same trend can be observed for the first half of 1996. Until now 11,779 foreigners have been apprehended attempting to enter the country illegally. The federal minister of the interior emphasized the important role played by the BGS in successfully enforcing the new asyum law. Kanther plans a 4% increase in funding for the BGS in the coming year.
SZ 30.8.96 // FAZ 30.8.96 // NN 30.8.96 // Welt 30.8.96

Asylum statistics

In August 1996 there were 9,548 petitions for asylum registered. This is 2,371 or just 20% less than in the previous year. Compared to July 1996 (9,511 petitions), the number has remained constant. The largest refugee group continues to come from Turkey (1,833) followed by ex-Yugoslavia (1,359) and Irak (1,011). The acceptance quota was 7.2% (928 persons). Another 559 refugees (4.3%) were granted exemption from deportation.
dpa 4.9.96

August 1996

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