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efms Migration Report

July 2000

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Green Card / Blue Card

On July 14, the Bundesrat passes the decree on work permits for computer specialists (IT-AV). The so-called Green Card permits foreign computer specialists from non-EU-countries to work in Germany, starting August 1, 2000. The processing time for an application should take a week at most. Specialists interested in working in Germany may either apply directly at a German company or by contacting the Zentralstelle für Arbeitsvermittlung in Bonn (ZAV). Companies may recruit specialists in foreign countries independently or with the help of private employment agencies. Until the end of July, 14,400 vacancies were reported at the labor exchange, most of them in the old Bundesländer. In comparison, 18,000 specialists have addressed inquiries to the ZAV, 9% of which came from Pakistan, and 8% from India and Bulgaria each. On July 31, the Labor Secretary, Walter Riester presents the first Green-Card to Harianto Wijaya. He is a computer specialist who has studied at the technical unversity of Aachen and who is now working for Aixcom, a cellular-network-company. The president of the Federal Office of Employment (Bundesanstalt für Arbeit), Bernhard Jagoda warns of seeing the Green Card as an ideal solution: it were only a short term solution and would block the need to create training programs within Germany. In May, the Federal Government and the IuK-Wirtschaft had agreed on the creation of 40,000 vacancies for training until the end of this year. Accordingly, still 7,000 vacanies need to be created. Bayern, followed by Hessen, Niedersachsen, Thüringen, and Bremen passes the so-called Blue Card. The regulation should simplify the recruitment of experts from various professions in foreign countries. It aims at those professions, in which vacancies would lead to harsh disadvantages in competition for Germany. Which professions this regulation specifically refers to has "yet to be thoroughly examined". The residence permit for the corresponding specialists would be valid for the length of the work contract. SPD and Alliance 90/The Greens criticize the regulation as being "not thoroughly developed". In case of unemployment, employees were granted only 2-3 months to find a new job. In addition, the foreigners would have no right to unemployment or social benefits. Beyond that, Alliance 90/The Greens fear, the Blue Card will create a two-class system of good and bad foreigners. According to results of a survey carried through by EMNID on behalf of n-tv, 57% of the German citizens oppose to the Geen Card, while 56% of the German citizens do not wish the Green Card to be expanded to other trades.
Spiegel online 3.7.00 // dpa 11.7.00 // SZ 12.7.00 // FAZ 14.7.00 // Welt 14.7.00 // FAZ 15.7.00 // FR 21.7.00 // Spiegel online 28.7.00 // SZ 28.7.00 // Welt 28.7.00 // dpa 30.7.00 // BMI Bayern Press Announcement 31.7.00

Expert commission on migration formed

Following the initiative of the Federal Minister of the Interior, Otto Schily (SPD) an expert commission for immigration is formed. The commission"s chairwoman will be Rita Süssmuth, her substitute will be Hans-Jochen Vogel (SPD). The commission will be made up of 21 members, among them 6 representatives from political parties, 2 representatives each of local central organizations and labor unions, and 3 representatives each of scientific branches, religious bodies, and employers" associations. Representatives of organizations not included in the commission, will be heard by the commission. The commission presumably will be constituted on September 1, 2000. The Federal Advisory Board for Foreigners (Bundesausländerbeirat) criticizes that no foreigners are represented in the commission. According to Schily, the commission will be responsible for the following tasks: within legal possibilities, the mingling of asylum procedures with immigration should be dissolved; immigration and its implications should be examined without prejudice or taboos; in addition, a policy which would improve immigration control should be formulated. In doing so, humanitarian principles as well as economic and politcal interests should be observed. According to Schily, the commission could either come up with an independent immigration law, or with changes of the existing legal fundamentals, or solely with administrative measures. The red-green coalition agrees that it will not consent to a change of the basic right to aslyum. According to Süssmuth, there is no doubt about the fact that Germany is humanitarily and legally obliged to follow the Geneva Convention of Refugees. According to the Federal Chancellor, Gerhard Schröder "legislative consequences" should be drawn from the results achieved by the commission even before the next elections of the Bundestag. Several Bundesländer governed by the CDU petition for a resolution in the Bundestag, according to which immigration should be controlled more strongly and the asylum law should be changed. According to the bayerischer Minister of the Interior, Günther Beckstein (CSU) thus "more people should come to Germany who will be of advantage to us, than who will take advantage of us". In July as well, the CDU forms its own expert commission with the saarländischer Ministerpräsident, Peter Müller as its chairman.
BMI Press Announcement 12.7.00 // Berliner Zeitung 13.7.00 // FAZ 13.7.00 // SZ 13.7.00 // Welt 13.7.00 //SZ 14.7.00 // NZ 17.7.00 // FAZ 20.7.00 // Welt 20.7.00

Less naturalizations than expected

Not as many people as expected take advantage of the new citizenship law, which has been in effect since the beginning of 2000. During the first four months, 12,000 applications were registered in Bayern (approximately 1.42% of the people entitled to naturalization). According to Berlin"s Minister of the Interior, Eckhart Werthebach (CDU) the applications in Berlin have decreased by 6%. The Federal Commissioner for Foreigners, Marieluise Beck (Alliance 90/The Greens) appeals to the Bundesländer to lower the fee for naturalization (at present: DM 500 per person).
SZ 24.7.00

EU migration and asylum policies

After 56 Chinese suffocated in a truck in Dover in June, the EU Interior Ministers, at an informal meeting in Marseille, decide on fighting illegal immigration more intensly in the future. They plan to set up a network of officers. Apart from extending the missing persons " duration of registration , not only lists of stolen cars should be drawn up, but also lists of stolen ships and aircrafts. Until fall of this year, the Commissioner of Justice in Brüssel, Antonio Vitorino plans to present to the EU Council of Ministers "Rules for Legal Immigration", a bill providing minimum standards for controlled immigration into the EU. According to the bill, migrant workers would be accepted as a third group of legal migrants, apart from asylum seekers and civil war refugees. They would have to be in possession of an ID, a police clearance, and a working contract. It would then be up to the member countries of the EU to decide, whether they wish to institute a quota system or seperate measures, ie. as the German Green Card. In a study carried through on behalf of the UNHCR, the EU"s asylum policy is vigorously criticized. According to the study, the right to asylum were continuously sacrificed in the interests of the Realpolitik. In addition, politically persecuted persons were practically forced to seek help at human smuggling organizations since the asylum policies as well as the entry regulations were constantly tightened. Starting mid-year 2001, Germany, France, Spain, and Italy plan on waiving the need for students, employees, and family members from other EU countries to apply for a residence permit. A registration acknowledgement as written out at a change of residence would then suffice. Pensioners and unemployed would still have to apply for a residence permit.
NZZ 8.7.00 // Spiegel 10.7.00 // FAZ 31.7.00 // SZ 31.7.00

Bomb attack in Düsseldorf: racist backgrond suspected

At a bomb attack in Düsseldorf nine persons are wounded, four of them severely. The wounded are refugees from Russia, Azerbaijan, and Ukraine, all of them members of a German-class. Six of them are Jews. The Department of Public Prosecution and the Federal Minister of the Interior, Otto Schily suspect a racist background. Schily hopes that the attack will be cleared up quickly and that the culprits "will be punished with all severity required". Following the bomb attack, the Federal Government and the Office for the Protection of the Constitution (Verfassungsschutz) call for measures against right-wing radicalism: the parliamentarian state secretary in the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Cornelie Sonntag-Wolgast requests the authorities to rigorously proceed against Neo-nazis. The president of the Verfassungsschutz, Heinz Fromm believes the danger from right-wing radicals to be underrated and warns of further atrocities. Both Fromm and Sonntag-Wolgast call for measures against right-wing radicals" websites.
Spiegel online 29.7.00 // SZ 29.7.00

New president of the Federal Office for the Recognition of Foreign Refugees installed; Schily proposes setting up advisory board for asylum matters

On July 13, the Federal Minister of the Interior, Otto Schily installs Albert Schmid as the new president of the Federal Office for the Recognition of Foreign Refugees (BAFl). Schily explains that, in the future, the BAFl will not only deal with the traditional questions concerning asylum, but also with questions concerning immigration. In addition, the asylum procedure should be simplified. The procedures should become more flexible, clearer, and more accurate. The administrative workload should be decreased; the number of legal proceedings should be reduced. In order to solve extremely difficult cases, Schily proposes to set up an advisory board at the BAFl. It would be made up of members of the UNHCR, churches, and other social institutions and could make recommendations. Nevertheless, it would have to be ruled out that the advisory board affected decisions made by the BAFl or prolonged the duration of asylum procedures. By taking this measure, Schily hopes for a broader acceptance of the BAFl"s decisions in public. According to Pro Asyl, such an advisory board would make little sense as long as a "structurally unfair asylum procedure" continues to produce cases of hardship. The quality of the BAFl"s hearings as well as the problem of non-governmental prosecution would have to be looked into more closely.
Berliner Zeitung 13.7.00 // NN 13.7.00 // NN 14.7.00 // SZ 14.7.00 // FR 15.7.00

SPD adheres to airport procedure

According to the SPD"s spokesman for internal affairs, Dieter Wiefelspütz the SPD believes its adherence to the airport procedure to be "indispensable" as a preventive measure. Nevertheless, Wiefelspütz criticizes the "degrading" accommodations; under-aged refugees and families with children should be spared from them. He announces efforts against the long durations of stay in the airport"s transit area. 25 asylum seekers go on hunger strike in the Frankfurt airport due to the "absolutely insufficient accommodations".
FR 4.7.00 // FR 22.7.00

Negative decisions in asylum cases to be presented to the Federal Commissioner for Asylum matters in the future

According to the parliamentarian state secretary at the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Cornelie Sonntag-Wolgast the Federal Commissioner for Asylum matters, in the future, will examine both positive as well as negative decisions in asylum cases made by the Federal Office for the Recognition of Foreign Refugees. The The Federal Commissioner for Asylum matters will inspect whether an appeal should be lodged or not. In February, representatives of the SPD, Alliance 90/The Greens, and PDS had criticized that only positive decisions were being examined.
BMI Press Announcement 20.7.00

Bundestag unanimously accepts petition "Observe humanitarian principles in the refugee policy"

The petition of the Human Rights Commission "Observe humanitarian principles in the refugee policy" is unanimously accepted by the Bundestag. Accordingly, endangered groups, such as prisoners from camps and chronically traumatized, should be exempted from their obligation to return to Bosnia, Herzegovina, and Kosovo. The representative of the UNHCR in Berlin, Jean-Noël Wetterwald, welcomes this decision. He appeals to the Bundesländer to quickly follow the Bundestag"s decision in the interest of the people affected.
BMI Press Announcement 7.7.00 // UNHCR Press Announcement 7.7.00 // SZ 8.7.00

Country report on Turkey modified

At the end of June, the Foreign Office completes the country report on Turkey. According to Pro Asyl, improvements can be noted, although still to an unsatisfactory extent. They approved of the fact that the endangerment in case of return is taken more seriously at decisions on the deportation of refugees who are politically active in exile. In addition, the imprisonment of whole families were no longer denied. Nevertheless, the Foreign Office were continuing to deny that Kurds are subject to group-persecution due to their ethnic origin. In addition, it were still claiming that Kurds could safely live in Western Turkey. Moreover, the Foreign Office were misinterpreting the situation: it were making the Turkish law responsible for the human rights deficits, but not its practical realization. After a politically active Kurd had been deported from Germany in 1998, he was sentenced to twelve years imprisonment in Turkey. Now, the Federal Office for the Recognition of Foreign Refugees revokes it"s notice of rejection with reference to the Geneva Convenion for Refugees.
FR 29.7.00

More people moved to Germany in 1999 than in 1998

According to the Statistisches Bundesamt, the number of residents in Germany has increased by 126,000 to 82.163,000. Last year, 202,000 more persons moved to Germany than have left it; the year before there was a surplus of 47,000 persons moving to Germany. 674,000 foreigners moved to Germany in 1999 (an increase of 68,000 compared to 1998), while 556,000 foreigners left Germany (a decrease of 83,000 compared to 1998).
SZ 19.7.00

Aussiedler statistics

9,374 persons were registered as ethnic German immigrants (Spätaussiedler) in July 2000. In July of last year 7,738 persons were registered.
BMI Press Announcement 1.8.00

Asylum statistics

6,529 persons applied for political asylum in Germany in July 2000. This is an increase of 782 persons compared to the previous month. In comparison to July 1999 although, this is a drop of 2,879 persons. The Federal Minister of the Interior, Otto Schily (SPD) states that the number of applications for asylum in the year 2000 had decreased by approximately one fourth compared to the same time span in 1999. The rate of approval in completed cases was 2.9% (237 persons). Protection against deportation following the Geneva Convention of Refugees was granted to 673 persons (8.3%).
BMI Press Announcement 3.8.00

July 2000

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