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efms Migration Report


July 2001

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EU Commission: Proposals for European migration policy

The EU Commission published its draft for a guideline on a common migration policy of EU member states on July 11. The proposals, aimed at regulating entries of labour (employed and self-employed) from third countries, constitute minimum standards based on the subsidiarity principle. Flexible though binding EU regulations, which take the varying labour market demands of EU member states into account, are to guarantee that legal migration flows into the EU are regulated and channelled in a reasonable manner. The proposals continue to grant priority to personnel from EU member states; non-EU nationals are only to be admitted in case of proved labour shortages for individual vacancies or sectors of industry, with nationals from countries that have applied for EU membership enjoying priority over other third-country nationals. According to Antonio Vitorino, the EU Commissioner of Justice and the Interior, the EU will have to develop a "culture of socio-political integration for admitted migrants".
NZZ 12.7.01 // Berliner Zeitung 12.7.01


Government commission on immigration releases recommendations

The independent government commission on immigration appointed by the Federal Interior Minister, Mr. Schily (SPD), which started to work nine months ago, presented its recommendations for immigration reform on July 4. The panel, headed by Rita Suessmuth (CDU), comprises 21 members representing major social groups (business, trade unions, churches etc.). The commission's report constitutes a historic change in Germany's policies toward immigrants and foreign residents, concluding that immigration has become a necessity for economic as well as demographic reasons. Therefore, the focus now is on how to regulate migration inflows. To this end, the commission recommends introducing a points system similar to the Canadian model, where points are granted according to migrants' age, language skills, qualification and other criteria. As can be gathered from the following illustration, the report recommends various possibilities for several categories of immigrants (e.g. entrepreneurs, highly-qualified specialists, scientists, students, "shortage staff" etc.) to obtain a temporary or permanent residence status (with the additional possibility of converting a temporary into a permanent status). A proposed new "immigration council" would make annual proposals on the level of immigration. Apart from stimulating and regulating labour immigration, the commission also puts great emphasis on training programmes for unemployed residents of Germany.

Model for 'labour market related immigration'
Source: Commission Report, summary, p. 6

The report's second section, entitled "acting humanely", recommends reforms of asylum policy (accelerating asylum procedures, fighting asylum abuse, introducing comprehensive protection for persons subject to political persecution; however, no consensus could be reached on whether victims of gender-specific or non-governmental persecution should be entitled to political asylum). There is a number of additional humanitarian measures, e.g. concerning family migration, where the report recommends that children of foreign residents up to the age of 18 should be entitled to join their parents in Germany (as opposed to 16 under current legislation). In addition, the report demands that the large number of different legal residence statuses should be reduced. It also calls on local foreigners' authorities to "create a more positive climate". The third section of the report focuses on integration. Under the headline "Foerdern und Fordern" (giving support and making demands) the commission recommends individual integration contracts, obliging the state to offer integration courses to new immigrants, and migrants to participate in these courses as well as pay part of the expenses. These courses are to comprise 600 lessons in German, social studies and vocational orientation. Successful participants should be "rewarded" by enhancing their legal residence status and reimbursing part of the course fees; persons refusing to participate in integration courses are not to be sanctioned. Some of the 220,000 places envisioned for these courses should also be open to migrants already living in Germany. In the section on policy recommendations, the commission report suggests setting up a Federal Office for Immigration and Integration, whose function would be to co-ordinate immigration and refugee protection. In order to achieve this, the existing Federal Office for the Recognition of Foreign Refugees (BAFl) in Nuremberg should be transformed and expanded, and also include a new independent research institute for migration and integration. The commission's recommendations have been welcomed by the SPD, FDP and the Greens, as well as the UNHCR, churches, employers, trade unions, foreigners' councils and representatives of migrant groups. The two main conservative parties, CDU / CSU, on the other hand, have rejected the proposals, criticising them for extending rather than limiting immigration.
Press Statement BMI 4.7.01 // Spiegel 4.7.01 // SZ 4.7.01 // FR 4.7.01 // dpa 4.7.01 // FAZ 5.7.01 // NZZ 5.7.01 // Zeit 5.7.01 // SZ 5.7.01// NN 5.7.01 // Spiegel 5.7.01// FR 6.7.01 // FR 6.7.01 //
Commission report on the web: http://www.bmi.bund.de


SPD proposals on immigration

The SPD parliamentary party published its proposals on immigration reform on July 6, in a paper entitled "Regulation, integration and interior peace", which had been drafted by a commission chaired by Ludwig Stiegler, deputy chairman of the SPD parliamentary party. The report concludes that, at present, the need for foreign labour is limited to only a few sectors of industry with vacancies for highly qualified specialists. Employment of unemployed residents of Germany is thus given priority over inflows of personnel from abroad. For demographic reasons, however, the recruitment of qualified young personnel from abroad will become necessary in 2010 approximately; foreign labour should then be able to apply for permanent residence in Germany, and candidates are to be selected through a points system. In addition, a temporary residence status is to be granted to students and personnel applying for vacancies (seasonal and contract workers). To this end, the government is to decree on annual quotas for migrants and their family members. With regard to asylum, the SPD parliamentary party has confirmed its support for the constitutional right to political asylum, and has called for "better protection" of victims of non-governmental or gender-specific persecution. On account of differing opinions within the party, the party's recommendations for asylum reform are stated in general terms only. In order to speed up asylum procedures, the party favours employing additional legal staff and, under certain conditions, subjecting the personnel responsible for reviewing asylum applications to administrative directives. In accordance with recommendations made by the Suessmuth Commission, the party wants to allow children of foreign residents to join their parents in Germany up to the age of 18 (as opposed to 16 under current legislation). In addition, the party calls for a "decade of integration", with the emphasis on mandatory language courses, school and vocational education, the teaching of values and counselling. This is to be achieved by individual "integration contracts" and "integration pilots" guiding migrants through integration programmes. If migrants refuse to participate in the programmes, they are to be sanctioned, for example by reducing social benefits. The naturalisation of migrants is regarded as the goal of integration programmes. Finally, the number of residence statuses for foreigners in German law is to be reduced to only two (temporary and permanent residence status).
FR 6.7.01 // SZ 7.7.01 // FR 7.7.01 // FAZ 12.7.01


FDP proposals on immigration

The FDP, the first party to present its proposals on immigration reform last year, presented a new position paper on July 30, in answer to the current immigration debate among political parties. In contrast to all other proposals made so far, the party considers the introduction of quotas for labour migrants as unnecessary, relying instead on the demand and the self-regulating power of the labour market. Vacancies on the job market, no matter in which sector of industry, which cannot be filled with domestic personnel are to be allocated without bureaucratic hurdles to applicants from abroad, who will be granted a -at first- temporary residence status. In view of the global "competition for the brightest talents" and imminent demographic changes, the party also wants to set immigration quotas of young, highly qualified migrants, even without the availability of specific job vacancies. German universities should also be made more attractive for foreign students and academics, mainly by reviewing German foreigners' law. For example, employing foreign personnel in Germany should no longer be obstructed by limiting residence rights or banning employment of family members of applicants. Moreover, "integration" is to be included in the German constitution as one of the main goals of the state. Participating in integration courses should be fostered, e.g. by speeding up naturalisation procedures for successful participants. According to the FDP, it should be one of the main aims of immigration reform to make labour and asylum migration incompatible, in order to reduce asylum applications. The problem of immigrants without valid papers could be solved by a "one-time amnesty", which the party considers as a "chance for a new beginning" in the context of immigration reform.
FAZ 31.7.01 // SZ 31.7.01 // FR 31.7.01


"Green Card": Taking stock after the first year

Since August 1, 2000, German IT companies have the possibility to employ computer specialists from abroad via the so-called "Green Card". The programme provides for an annual contingent of 20,000 computer specialists, who are granted a five-year residence permit. During the first twelve months of the programme, however, this quota could not be fully realised, with German companies employing 8,556 experts so far. Among applicants, computer specialists from India form the largest group (1,782 persons), followed by 1,198 specialists from the territory of the former Soviet Union and 736 Romanians. Bavarian companies have employed 2,500 of the applicants. The federal government and employers' associations consider the "Green Card" a major success. Mr. Riester (SPD), the Federal Labour Minister, particularly points at positive indirect employment effects, with many new jobs being created for domestic personnel as well. Of the 60,000 job training places IT companies had promised to create until the year 2003, 54,000 have already been filled with applicants. According to the DGB, the largest German trade union association, employers have severely overestimated their demand for personnel; at present, jobs are being cut because of the economic slowdown. Experts have pointed out that the limited residence permit doesn't make the programme attractive enough for computer specialists from abroad, who often prefer to migrate to other countries like the USA, where conditions and salary are better, and society is seen as more open and tolerant towards foreigners.
Welt 11.7.01 // NN 27.7.01 // SZ 30.7.01 // NN 31.7.01


Naturalisation statistics 2000: new law leads to significant increase

After the reform of German naturalisation law came into force on 1st January 2000, the year 2000 has witnessed a 30-percent increase of naturalisations of foreign nationals: in 1999, a total of 143,267 persons were awarded German citizenship; in 2000, the number rose to 186,691. In addition, an estimated 40,000 children received German nationality by birth in 2000 (during the first six months of 2000, 19,000 new-born children of foreign residents of Germany received German nationality). Mr. Schily, Federal Minister of the Interior, and Marieluise Beck, Federal Government Commissioner for Foreigners and Integration, cite the increase as proof for the success of the new naturalisation law.
Press statement BMI 5.7.01 // Press statement Federal Government Commissioner for Foreigners and Integration 5.7.01


Asylum statistics

8,093 new asylum applications were submitted in July 2001, an increase of 22.5% over the previous month, and of 24% over the same month of last year. The number of asylum applicants from Iraq has continued to rise. Thus Iraq is still applicants' main country of origin, followed by Turkey and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The Federal Office for the Recognition of foreign refugees reviewed applications of 10,110 applications last month: 8% were recognised as entitled to political asylum, an additional 18.4% are protected against deportation according to Art.51 Par.1 Foreigners Act. 50.7% percent of applications have been rejected.
Press statement BMI 2.8.01 // FAZ 3.8.2001

July 2001

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