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efms Migration Report

December 2005

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Hague Programme: EU Commission presents action plan on legal migration

On 21 December 2005, the European Commission presented a "Strategic Policy Plan on Legal Migration" for the years from 2006 to 2009 that focuses on economic migration. According to the plan, there is need for action in the following four areas: Firstly, the legal provisions governing the entry and the residence of legally employed third-country nationals need to be altered. Secondly, knowledge building measures and information sharing in the immigration field need to be fostered. Thirdly, a better integration of economic migrants and their dependants into the labour market and the host society need to be promoted. And finally, a more efficient management of international migration flows, which need the cooperation and the support of the countries of origin of the immigrants, needs to be achieved. The first concrete initiatives will be started from 2007. EU Justice Commissioner Frattini said he would consider the strategy plan as very important since it is the result of a real bottom-up-process. Federal Interior Minister, Wolfgang Schäuble (CDU), however, has clearly rejected the plans of an EU immigration policy on the occasion of a meeting of the EU Interior Ministers in Brussels on 1-2 December 2005, arguing that legal immigration would have a direct impact on the labour market and therefore needed to remain under the responsibility of the Member States" national governments.
Wiener Zeitung 01.12.05 // BZ 02.12.05 // FAZ 02.12.05 // Press release of the EU Commission JHA IP/05/1664 21.12.05

European Council: First conference of the "European Roma and Travellers Forum"

From 13-15 December 2005, representatives of Roma from 42 of the 46 Member States of the Council of Europe met at the first European Roma and Travellers Form (ERTF). Already one year before, on 15 December 2004, a partnership agreement had been signed between the Council of Europe and the newly founded organisation. Its objective is the integration of the about twelve million Roma living in Europe. Problems would be posed in particular by the high degree of poverty, the low live expectancy and high mortality rates among children.
Press release of the Council of Europe 673d dated 05 08.12.05 // SZ 14.12.05

OECD survey on labour market integration of immigrants in Germany

In a survey presented on 2 December 2005 in Berlin, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reports on the increasingly widening gap between the situation of native Germans and immigrants due to the lack of integration, poor education offers and high unemployment rates. Immigrants in Germany would particularly be affected by the difficult situation on the labour market prevailing since the 90s. The employment rate of male immigrants and German late ethnic repatriates (Aussiedler) residing less than eight years in Germany has been falling by 20 per cent since 1992. A similar drop can be observed for Turkish immigrants. With 64 per cent, the employment rate of males of working age born abroad is 7 per cent lower than the rate among persons born in Germany (71 per cent). Among women, this gap is even wider with 61 per cent of the women with foreign nationality born in Germany being employed in contrast to only 47 per cent of the women born abroad.
Press release of the OECD Berlin Centre 02.12.05 // taz 03.12.05 // BZ 03.12.05 // FR 03.12.05

Conference of the Interior Ministers: Provision for long-term residence titles for long-term refugees proposed

On 8-9 December 2005, the 179th standing Conference of the Interior Ministers and Senators (IMK) was held in Karlsruhe. With the support of refugee organisations, churches, charitable organisations, the German Association of Trade Unions (DGB), the political parties of SPD and the Greens as well as the federal government commissioner for integration, Böhmer (CDU), the federal states of Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia and Berlin presented proposals for a resolution on the right of residence of a part of the 200,000 refugees whose stay in Germany is tolerated. Such resolution would be necessary in order to avoid hardship cases among foreigners who are integrated in economic and social terms and whose children were born or even raised in Germany. Prerequisites to be fulfilled would be no criminal records, German language skills, a stay of several years and a permanent employment. The federal states governed by Union-parties such as Bavaria, Saxony and Lower Saxony, however, have rejected to introduce a provision generally solving "long-lasting cases" (in German so-called "Altfälle"). According to these federal states, those who would "intentionally delay" leaving Germany, should not be rewarded. The parties involved will continue to find a concerted agreement on the issue in 2006.
Die Welt 03.12.05 // SZ 07.12.05 // FR 08.12.05 // Press release of the Ministry of the Interior of Baden-Württemberg 09.12.05 // SZ 10.12.05 // SZ 16.12.05 // FR 20.12.05

Education: Language tests for children at kindergartens

The federal government commissioner for integration, Maria Böhmer (CDU), has demanded an extension of language training support measures and the introduction of compulsory language tests for both children of foreign and German nationals. She refused an compulsory kindergarten attendance for children. Instead, the fees payable for the last year children attend kindergarten should be abolished and the kindergartens should take over the role of institutions offering training and education for children aged five to six. As good example for such policy she mentioned the federal state of Saarland. The federal state of Lower Saxony will extend the pre-school language training courses, which have been introduced two years ago. Similar to Bavaria, it is foreseen in future to hold language tests 14 months prior to starting school. In case of insufficient language skills, the child would then receive dedicated language training at the kindergarten over the course of one year prior to starting school.
SZ 02.12.05 // Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung (online) 07.12.05 // BZ 19.12.05 // NZ 20.12.05 // Die Welt 21.12.05

Discussion on integration and tightening the Foreigners' Law

The chairman of the party of CSU, Edmund Stoiber, has presented a ten-point-catalogue to demand, inter alia, the swear of an oath on the German Basic Law for persons being naturalised, the holding of public naturalisation ceremonies, an extension of the integration courses from currently 600 to 900 hours in future, the future consideration of forced marriages as criminal offence, the lowering of the age limit for children allowed to join their families from currently 16 years to 12 in future, as well as the revocation of the residence permit and a cutting or withdrawal of social benefits in case of infringements of the duty of integration (for example, if participants fail to pass integration courses). The proposal was criticised by the political parties of FDP, the Greens, Left party and the Central Council of Muslims in Germany. For the time being, the Federal Interior Minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, rejected demands claiming the tightening of the Foreigners' Law. At first, the outcomes of an evaluation of the impact the Immigration Act has had so far, which is scheduled for 2006, would have to be expected.
Focus online 18.12.05 // Rheinische Post (online) 18.12.05 //SZ online 18.12.05 // FDP (online) 19.12.05 // Die Welt 20.12.05 // SZ 21.12.05 // NZ 21.12.05

Exhibition "Flight, Expulsion, Integration" opened in Bonn

On 2 December 2005, an exhibition about the subject area of forced resettlements and expulsion since the beginning of the 20th century and about immigration and integration in post war Germany was opened in the Haus der Geschichte (House of History) of the Federal Republic of Germany. On the occasion of the exhibition, a poll was carried out among Polish, Czechs and Germans. It has shown that the subject of forced expulsions is still given high attention; however, the knowledge about it is relatively limited and its perception among people distorted. According to the poll, 61 per cent of the Polish and 38 per cent of the Czechs consider it likely or even very likely that the Germans "some day will reclaim territories and assets". Hermann Schäfer, president of the House of History, considered the results as "alarming".
Press release of Germany"s House of History Foundation 14.11.05 // NN 03.12.05 // FAZ 04.12.05 // FAZ 05.12.05

Refugee organisation Pro Asyl criticises implementation of Immigration Act

Pro Asyl has sharply criticised the implementation of the Immigration Act, arguing that neither the so-called "chain toleration certificates" had been abolished nor had hardship commissions been established throughout Germany. In Bavaria, there has been established no hardship commission at all so far; in Hesse and Lower Saxony, the petition committees of the local parliaments have been commissioned to decide on hardship cases. Of the 700 applications filed in Hesse and the almost 200 in Lower Saxony, both committees had so far recognised only one case in each federal state as being a hardship case.
Press release Pro Asyl 29.12.05 // FR 29.12.05

Central Council of Jews in danger of splitting up

Jewish parishes with a high proportion of Russian-speaking members are discontent and demand reforms. About 30 parishes, above all in the new federal states in Eastern Germany, reproach the Central Council for not caring about the integration of new members. Together with the World Congress of Russian-speaking Jews e.V. they claim a stronger representation of Russian-speaking Jews in the Central Council.
Die Welt 16.12.05

Cooperation between Islamic associations, the Federal Office of Criminal Investigation (BKA) and the Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV)

The Federal Office for Criminal Investigation (BKA), the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, representatives of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany (ZMD) and Turkish-Islamic Union (DITIP) have jointly prepared a concept for a better cooperation. The concept provides for appointing permanent contact persons within the organisations, holding common lecture and discussion events and the dissemination of jointly prepared information material.
FAZ 15.12.05

Lower Saxony wants radical Islamists to wear electronic foot shackles

The proposal of the Interior Minister of Lower Saxony, Uwe Schünemann (CDU), to oblige radical Islamists and hate preachers to wear electronic foot shackles following corresponding judicial orders, if they cannot be expulsed due to humanitarian or other reasons, has met with different responses. Philipp Rösler, representative and parliamentary leader of the coalition partner FDP qualified the approach as "populist, questionable from a legal point of view and inappropriate for fighting against terrorism". The Union of the Police Services (GdP) as well as the local governments of Berlin, Rhineland-Palatinate, North Rhine-Westphalia and Hamburg are critical of the proposal. The Bavarian Interior Minister, Beckstein (CSU), however, welcomed it.
Die Welt 29.11.05 // Tagesspiegel (online) 30.12.05

Bavaria: Islamistic association "Multi-Kultur-Haus" shut down

On 28 December 2005, the Bavarian Ministry of the Interior has closed the "Multi-Kultur-Haus" and its corresponding cultural centre in Neu-Ulm. The Bavarian Interior Minister, Günther Beckstein (CSU), talked about a "stroke against foreign extremist structures". The centre had called openly for violent acts against people with other religious beliefs, which in turn would be a threat to a peaceful coexistence of Germans and foreign nationals.
FAZ 29.12.05 // SZ 29.12.05 // NZ 29.12.05

Hesse: "Federal state and municipalities - hand in hand towards good integration"

On 6 December 2005, the Prime minister of Hesse, Roland Koch (CDU), the Minister for Social Affairs, Silke Lautenschläger (CDU) and the mayor of the city of Wetzlar, Wolfram Dette (FDP), presented a concept to support and interconnect local projects. Koch emphasised that integration into daily life would take place in the towns, municipalities and on local district level. For almost all problems, solutions had been found already and hence the municipalities could learn from each other.
Press release of the Ministry of Social Affairs of Hesse 06.12.05 // Mainspitze (online) 07.12.05

Federal Constitutional Court: Extradition to Vietnam prohibited

Foreign nationals facing legal charges in their home country may only be extradited if they can expect a criminal trial in line with basic legal principles. On 7 December 2005, the Federal Constitutional Court (BVerfG) decided in favour of a Vietnamese women, who was to face in her home country a criminal trial for drug trafficking (Ref.: 2 BvR 1090/05). The woman suspects that the charges against her are an act of revenge of the Vietnamese "cigarettes mafia" against which she had testified in several criminal proceedings in Germany. According to the Federal Ministry for Migration and Refugees, she is threatened in Vietnam by the death penalty due to the hypothetical nature of the trial.
Press release of BVerfG 07.12.05 // SZ 08.12.05 // FAZ 08.12.05

Federal Constitutional Court: Father of a German child not to be expulsed

The serbian-montenegrin father of a five-year-old daughter possessing German nationality, who has been living in Germany since 1999 and whose residence permit has not been extended, has successfully filed a constitutional complaint. The Federal Constitutional Court (BVerfG) cancelled the decisions of the Administrative Court and the Higher Administrative Court that set aside the right on expedited relief arguing that they would infringe the appellant"s basic right resulting from Article 6 German Basic Law (Protection of the Family) (Ref.: 2BvR 1001/04).
Press release of BVerfG 08.12.05

Federal Administrative Court: Refugee passports upon expulsion

The Federal Administrative Court (BVerwG) of Leipzig has decided that the Aliens Departments have the right to issue a travel document in accordance with the Geneva Convention on Refugees (GCR) to a recognised refugee even if his or her stay in Germany is only tolerated following a definitive decision ruling his or her expulsion. The general ban on re-entering the country for expelled foreign nationals does not impede the issue of a travel document to a Geneva Convention refugee whose stay in Germany is only tolerated (Ref.: 1 C 36.04).
Press release of BVerfG 13.12.05

Asylum statistics

In December 2005, a total of 2,097 persons have submitted a petition for political asylum in Germany. The figure constitutes an decrease of 14.9 per cent (-367 persons) compared to November 2005. Compared to December 2004, the number of asylum seekers has declined by 23.6 per cent (-649 persons). The main countries of origin in December 2005 were Serbia and Montenegro (347), Turkey (211) and Iraq (159) followed by the Russian Federation (121) and Iran (87). In December 2005, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees has reviewed the applications of 3,700 asylum seekers, 30 (0.8 per cent) of whom have been recognised as entitled to political asylum. A further 98 persons (2.6 per cent) have been granted protection against deportation according to §60, paragraph 1, Residence Act. The applications of 2,300 people (62.2 per cent) have been rejected. The cases of another 1,272 persons (34.4 per cent) have been closed for other reasons, for example because asylum seekers have withdrawn their applications.
Press release BMI 08.01.06

Asylum figures 2005: At the lowest level for 20 years

The year 2005 saw a further decreasing trend in the number of asylum applications and recognition rates. With 28,914 asylum applications filed in Germany, the number of asylum seekers decreased by 18.8 per cent (-6,693) compared to the previous year 2004 and reached its lowest level since 1983. This development is also reflected by the decrease in the number of asylum seekers from seven of ten countries of origin. The most remarkable declines were registered in the number of applications of nationals from China (-46.6 per cent) followed by Azerbaijan (-37.8 per cent), the Russian Federation (-37.6 per cent), Iran (-32.1 per cent), Turkey (-28.7 per cent) and Afghanistan (-22.5 per cent). On the other hand, the number of asylum seekers from Iraq (+53.4 per cent), Serbia and Montenegro (+43.2 per cent) and Syria (+21.5 per cent) experienced an increase. In 2005, most asylum seekers came from Serbia and Montenegro (5,522) followed by Turkey (2,958), Iraq (1,983) as well as the Russian Federation (1,719) and Vietnam (1,222). In 2005, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees decided on the applications of 48,102 (previous year: 61,961) persons, 441 (0.9 per cent) persons of whom were recognised as entitled to political asylum and 2,053 (4.3 per cent) were granted protection against deportation according to § 60, paragraph 1 of the Residence Act. The asylum applications of 28,109 persons (58.4 per cent) have been rejected. The application cases of the remaining 17,529 persons (36.4 per cent) have been closed for other reasons.
Press release BMI 08.01.06

December 2005

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