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efms Migration Report

February 1998

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Kinkel and Dodik agree on return of refugees to the "Republika Srpska"

At a meeting with Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel the new prime minister of the Bosnian-Serb Republika Srpska, Milorad Dodik, has agreed to readmit the 170,000 refugees from the republic now residing in Germany as soon as possible. In return, Kinkel pledged German economic aid in reconstructing the economy and democratic institutions. According to Kinkel, Germany has spent 17 billion marks since 1991 on the refugees from Bosnia-Herzegovina admitted to Germany. Following the meeting with Dodik, Kinkel appealed to the Serb president Milosevic to bring pressure to bear on the situation in Kosovo in order to stem the tide of refugees from Kosovo to Germany. Between 500 and 2,000 Kosovo Albanians arrive every month in Germany.
Welt 3.2.98 // FAZ 3.2.98 // dpa 4.2.98 // Welt 5.2.98

Interior Minister Conference rejects general deportation ban for Algerian refugees

The Permanent Conference of the Interior Ministers of the Länder (IMK) has refused to declare a general ban on deporting Algerian refugees. Instead, each refugee is to be subjected to "careful individual examination" prior to deportation by Länder authorities. In this way authorities will be able to prevent the deportation of refugees whose life is in danger in Algeria. The resolution was formulated in accordance with a situation report of the Foreign Ministry which considers a general ban on deportation to be unnecessary in view of the existence of "safe areas" in Algeria. Before the IMK meeting, the ministers of the Länder under SPD rule had spoken out in favor of a temporary ban. There are presently 17,500 Algerians living in Germany, of whom only 7,800 are in possession of a temporary residence permit. In 1997 two percent of all Algerian petitions for asylum were approved.
FAZ 31.1.998 // FAZ 31.1.98 // Welt 2.2.98 // dpa 2.2.98 // SZ 2.2.98 // FR 3.2.98 // SZ 3.2.98 // FAZ 3.2.98 // dpa 3.2.98

Deportation of Hungarian family causes heated debate

The deportation of a Hungarian family which had been living in Bavaria since 1988 led to a vehement debate on the strict application of laws regarding aliens. The family had come to Germany ten years ago at its own risk in hopes of being recognized as Volksdeutsche (ethnic Germans). Their petition was approved in 1994 by the administrative court of Regensburg, but the Bavarian administrative court overturned the decision. The parents and two unmarried children were to be deported although all four family members had jobs and long-term work permits. While Bavaria"s Interior Minister Beckstein considers the family to be a "borderline case" and admits it is "very difficult from a humanitarian point of view", he is not willing to exercise his ministerial prerogative and allow the family to remain in Germany. Helmut Ritzer, the chairman of the the petition committee in the Landtag criticized the "incredible fundamentalism of the ministries and authorities". Elisabeth Köhler, the Green Party aliens expert, finds it difficult to believe that the state of Bavaria would persevere in this case to the bitter end and uproot a fully integrated family from its new environment.
SZ 4.2.98 // SZ 5.2.98 // FR 7.2.98

Bundesrat approves reduction of benefits for rejected asylum-seekers

CDU, CSU and SPD-led Länder voted together in the Bundesrat to pass a bill which will drastically cut social benefits for rejected asylum seekers, foreigners illegally entering Germany and "tolerated" foreigners. The new section of the law on welfare benefits for asylum seekers stipulates that these foreigners are to receive some minimal assistance only in isolated cases. Up to now, these groups of foreigners have received goods and financial assistance at a 20% lower rate than that of regular welfare benefits. The bill must now be ratified by the Bundestag. The interior minister of Niedersachsen, Gerhard Glogowski, commented on the rationale of the new law stating that "without a limit to benefit claims there is no incentive to leave Germany." The Bundesrat proposal met with vehement criticism in the Green Party, welfare organizations and the UNHCR. These groups pointed out that the regulations would also affect refugees who could not be deported due to lack of deportation agreements between Germany and their native countries. Civil-war refugees would also lose their claim to benefits as they are only tolerated in Germany.
SZ 6.2.98 // FAZ 6.2.98 // FR 7.2.98 // NN 7.2.98 // FAZ 7.2.98 // taz 7.2.98 // Welt 7.2.98 // SZ 7.2.98

Kinkel: FDP for immigration law after Bundestag elections

German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel has announced that the FDP intends to resume efforts to achieve an immigration law. In Kinkel"s opinion the law should contain quotas which would help ensure that people in genuine distress would be able to come to Germany.
SZ 9.2.98

Administrative court: Turks entitled to remain in Germany after apprenticeship

The Administrative Court of Hessen in Kassel ruled that Turks who have completed a three-year apprenticeship in Germany have the right to a resident permit in order to continue working in this field. This right, in the opinion of the judges, derives from the association agreement between Turkey and the European Union. According to this agreement, after three years of employment acccording to regulations a Turkish employee has the right to seek new employment in the same profession on the labour market of member countries. In the opinion of the judges, an apprenticeship meets the requirements of employment according to regulations.
FR 10.2.98 // SZ 11.2.98

Police busts Asian immigrant smuggling gang

The Duisburg Department of Police has succeeded in delivering the nationwide hardest blow against an Asian immigrant smuggling gang. In a large-scale raid conducted simultaneously in 50 cities the police arrested 85 persons. According to police information, since 1989 the gang has smuggled approximately 100 persons every three months into Europe and the USA from China and Malaysia.
SZ 12.2.98

Federal Constitutional Court confirms transportation ban on foreigners without visa

The federal government may prohibit airline transportation of foreigners without visas who wish to travel to Germany. The Second Senate of the Federal Constitutional Court had examined the corresponding regulation in the Aliens Law and found it to be in conformity with the constitution. Two foreign airlines had lodged an appeal because in their opinion it was not the responsibility of airlines to carry out tasks such as visa checks which are subject to the jurisdiction of the state. The judges argued that according to international conventions airlines were required to observe national entry regulations.
dpa 11.2.98 // NZ 12.2.98 // FR 12.2.98 // FAZ 12.2.98 // taz 12.2.98

CDU Landtag members favor wedding ban for asylum seekers during asylum proceedings

The CDU Baden Württemberg Landtag member Roland Schmid and the CDU Bundestag member Michael Teiser have called for prohibiting marriages of asylum seekers while their cases are being evaluated. Both politicians aim to prevent asylum seekers from arranging "bogus marriages" in order to circumvent asylum proceedings. They point out that a marriage ban is also being discussed in Denmark. The interior minister of Bayern, Günther Beckstein has started an initiative to combat "bogus marriages", but he rejects the proposal to prohibit asylum-seekers from marrying. In a circular letter Beckstein called on marriage license bureau officials to prevent bogus marriage ceremonies. According to a ministry spokesman, this is to pave the way for the new marriage law which will become effective as of July 1. This law will allow marriages between Germans and foreigners only if they intend to establish "conjugal cohabitation."
taz 11.2.98 // dpa 12.2.98 // NN 13.2.98 // SZ 13.2.98 // taz 13.2.98

Number of naturalizations in 1996 rises 20%

In 1996, according to the Federal Bureau of Statistics 86,356 foreigners were naturalized in Germany. This was an increase of 20% in comparison to 1995 when 61,709 foreigners were naturalized. The largest group in 1996 were the Turks with 46,294 naturalizations followed by the Vietnamese (3,553), Moroccans (3,149) and Yugoslavians (2,967). According to the statistics, 48,752 of the naturalizations were based on legal claims and the rest on the discretion of the responsible authorities. An additional 216,474 Aussiedler (ethnic German immigrants) were naturalized in 1996. This is 25,299 fewer than in the previous year.
dpa 12.2.98 // taz 13.2.98 // FAZ 13.2.98

Kanther advocates eased requirements for foreign students

German Interior Minister Manfred Kanther has presented a new bill to ease restrictions on foreigners studying in Germany. According to the proposal students would be allowed to pursue their studies in Germany for a maximum 15 years (currently 10 years). Foreigners would be allowed to change their course of studies within the first 18 months. A foreign student would no longer need to prove he has accomodations before entering Germany. Moreover, verification of financial means would be relaxed. Finally, residence permits would be awarded for two years instead of the present one year.
FR 13.2.98

Erlangen: CSU mayor launches naturalization campaign

The mayor of Erlangen (Northern Bavaria), Siegfried Balleis (CSU) has begun a campaign to naturalize foreigners living in Erlangen. In a circular letter to the 7,000 foreigners who meet the requirements for naturalization, the city administration provides information on the procedure for acquiring a German passport as well as the duties and rights of citizenship. Balleis defends his initiative, pointing out that the Bundestag will not provide a solution to the problem of double citizenship in the near future. Erlangen, however, has a vested interest in addressing its foreign citizens. The campaign is intended to be a "clear means of integration" and to demonstrate to foreigners that they are welcome. Balleis hopes to increase the annual number of naturalizations from the current 200 to 1,000.
NZ 7.2.98 // SZ 18.2.98

Nordrhein-Westfalen: towns dispute constitutionality of Refugee Admission Law

127 cities and communities in Nordrhein-Westfalen intend to file a constitutional suit against their state government. Their aim is to force the government to continue assistance payments for Bosnian refugees until they return to their native country. Up to the end of 1997 Nordrhein-Westfalen had paid an annual amount of 675 marks per person to the communities who were responsible for providing accommodations for the refugees. This sum enabled local governments to cover about 80 percent of their expenses. The state government ceased these payments as of 1.1.1998, thereby causing a loss of income of 460 million marks to local governments. A further complaint are the costs of accommodations for rejected asylum seekers. Up to now the Land has paid for only four months prior to deportation. The local governments want the state government to assume the costs of accommodating rejected asylum seekers for the actual duration of their stay which is an average of 23 months. Finally, in the view of local governments, the state government should also assume complete financial responsiblity for housing so-called special quota refugees. These are emotionally disturbed or physically debilitated refugees, of whom there are 2,700 currently residing in Nordrhein-Westfalen.
FAZ 18.2.98 // Welt 18.2.98

Diakonisches Werk in Nürnberg offers refugees counselling in their native tongues

The Diakonisches Werk (Evangelical charity organization) has employed an Iranian woman and a Tamil man in their service "Information and Counseling in the Native Tongue for Refugees". This is the only refugee counseling service of its kind in Germany. Both counsellors, who came to Germany as refugees over ten years ago, will be able to advise approximately one fourth of the recognized refugees living in greater Nürnberg. These refugees will be counselled in their native languages on subjects such as how to deal with various authorities. The project is being sponsored by the European Commission.
NN 18.2.98

Gauweiler wants referendum: "Bayern is not a Land of immigration"

The chairman of the Munich CSU, Peter Gauweiler, wants to pave the way for a referendum to amend the Bavarian constitution with the sentence "Bayern is not a Land of immigration." Gauweiler feels that "the substance of the Land must be protected" and warns against "Berlin conditions" where in some school classes 80% of the children are foreigners. The Bavarian CSU has rejected Gauweiler"s proposal, arguing that the federal government has jurisdiction over matters of aliens and asylum.
SZ 21.2.98 // FR 21.2.98

Nordrhein-Westfalen: independent residence rights for abused wives

Abused foreign wives may now receive residence rights independently of their husbands. The state government has set up a list of criteria which constitute entitlement to unlimited residence rights. The following grounds are recognized as constituting an independent right of residence for a foreign spouse: physical or emotional abuse, forced prostitution, threat of forced abortion, severe discrimination in native country, sexual violence towards children living with the couple, and taking care of a handicapped child. Up to now foreigners joining their spouses in Germany have received i ndependent residence permits only after four years of marital cohabitation. The Bundestag passed a law in November which provides for a residence permit in cases of extreme hardship without four years of residence; but this law does not stipulate what criteria define hardship cases.
dpa 24.2.98 // taz 25.2.98

Aussiedler statistics

According to the federal government, 6,092 Aussiedler (ethnic German immigrants) came to Germany in February, which is one third fewer than in February 1997. Of these Aus- siedler, 5,983 came from the former Soviet Union. The Federal Commissioner for Aussiedler, Horst Waffenschmidt attributes the declining number of Aussiedler to the assistance provided to areas in Russia where ethnic Germans live. Furthermore, 100,000 ethnic Germans living in Eastern Europe have yet to take advantage of their entry permits.
SZ 2.3.98

Asylum statistics

Acccording to Hans Georg Dusch, president of the Federal Bureau for the Recognition of Foreign Refugees, 6,000 asylum seekers came to Germany in February. This is the lowest number in ten years. In January 8,400 persons had applied for asylum in Germany. Dusch attributes the reduction in asylum seekers to the restrictive asylum policies which have resulted in refugees increasingly seeking asylum in the Netherlands or in Switzerland.
dpa 27.2.98 // NN 28.2.98 // FR 28.2.98

February 1998

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