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efms Migration Report

June 2008

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US want stricter immigration controls

Within the framework a new legislation, the US plan to introduce stricter provisions on the immigration of citizens who have been exempt from visa obligations so far. To prevent terrorist acts, holiday makers and businessmen from most EU Member States, including Germany, but also from Japan, Australia and New Zealand, will be obliged to register themselves with the US authorities through the internet before entering the US. So far, the EU has not commented the plans. A spokesman of EU Commissioner Jacques Barrot only said that Brussels wanted to evaluate the plans of the US authorities in detail.

European Parliament adopts Return Directive

On 18 June 2008, the European Parliament (EP) has adopted in Strasbourg the EU Return Directive and has thus accepted the compromise on the dealing with irregular migrants negotiated between the Rapporteur of the EP and Member of the European Parliament (MoEP), Manfred Weber (CSU), and the Council of Ministers. This means a further step towards the harmonisation of the EU migration policy. The core elements of the Directive are as follows: The Member States are to grant irregulars in future a period of seven to 30 days during which they can voluntarily return to their country of origin. Only such persons are to be taken into custody whose deportation can also be legally enforced. In doing so, the period of custody in special detention centres is to be kept as short as possible and should normally not exceed six months. If legal proceedings are delayed, however, custody can also be extended up to a period of 18 months. In the case of infringements of the obligation to return, a five-year ban to re-enter the EU is to be issued. Critics of the Directive such as refugee relief organisations and political mandate holders consider the possible custody period of 18 months to secure deportation of illegals and in particular of minors as too long. Karl Kopp, German spokesman of the European umbrella organisation European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), said that even today there would be an "excessive interpretation of the acts governing asylum". The implementation of the compromise would set a disastrous standard and constituted an infringement of human rights. The chairman of the Liberals in the European Parliament, Graham Watson, stressed, however, that the EU in its entirety committed itself for the first time to comply with certain minimum standards when dealing with illegals. Refugees were given now also the possibility to claim a number of rights. Now, the Member States have a 24 month"s time to transpose the Directive into national law.
SZ 06.06.08 // FR 06.06.08 // taz online 07.06.08 // taz online 16.06.08 // Berliner Morgenpost 18.06.08 // SZ 18.06.08 // Press release of EP 18.06.08 // SZ 23.06.08

EU Agency for Fundamental Rights: Lack of efforts in fight against racism

In the opinion of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights numerous EU Member States, including Germany, do not sufficiently fight against racism. In twelve states, no sanctions were imposed in the years 2006 and 2007 in the context of acts of discrimination on the grounds of race or origin. In Estonia, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Spain and Luxembourg in principle no (efficient) anti-discrimination authority is established. Moreover, not in all states sufficient data would be collected on offences with a racial background. In countries like Germany, where a good data base would be available, an increase in the number of racist crimes could be observed between 2000 and 2006. The Chairman of the Agency, Anastacia Crickley, therefore made a call to all EU Member States to implement campaigns to inform victims of racism on their possibilities to lodge complaints.
KNA 24.06.08

Study: Increase in anti-Semitic prejudices and criminal offence throughout Europe

Since 2000, anti-Semitic prejudices and criminal offences have been increasing in Europe. This is the finding of a comparative study that has been conducted on behalf of the Moses-Mendelssohn-Centre in twelve European countries. According to the study, particularly young Europeans have been increasingly willing in recent years to express in public prejudices against Jews or Judaism. In addition, almost 40 per cent of the respondents were of the opinion that Jews should stop seeing themselves as victims due to the Holocaust. Disapproval was also expressed by criticising Israel too sharply: 39 per cent of the Europeans compared Israel"s policy towards the Palestinians with the former apartheid policy in South Africa. A total of about 20 per cent of the Europeans had express anti-Semitic and/or anti-Jewish prejudices. Moreover, some countries experienced an increase in anti-Semitic offences. In France, for instance, the number of such incidents had grown until 2007 by 62.4 per cent.
BZ 19.06.08

Expert conference on media and integration of migrants

On 19 June 2008, an expert conference on the topic of "Media in Germany: Obstacle for integration or source of opportunities?" was held at the premises of the Federal Press Office in Berlin with the attendance of 80 journalists, politicians and media scientists. The aim of the conference was to discuss the role and responsibilities of the media in the integration process of migrants. All participants were of the opinion that media play a crucial role in the process of integration. Within the framework of their independent and critical reporting and their entertainment offers, they considerably contributed to shape the image of the different ethnic and cultural population groups in Germany. It was criticised that the picture which so far has been drawn on migrants in Germany would be incomplete; migrants would be frequently presented in the context of problems. A call was made to the participants to increase the share of persons with a migration background in the areas of journalism and media professions. Currently, migrants would be highly underrepresented in these areas. According to Dr. Jürgen Weiß, one of the conference attendees, the thesis of the existence of media ghettos, to which for example the Turkish population in Germany would have moved, would not be correct. He referred to the fact that rather a complementary use of German and Turkish media at the same time would be prevailing. Finally, the responsibility of those persons involved in the production of media was stressed: as members of self-reliantly acting elites, these persons would have to reflect in self-critical way on the production, the effects of publications and the consequences arising thereof.

Turkish entrepreneurs ever more successful in Germany

The importance of entrepreneurs of Turkish origin for the German economy has increased in the past years. According to data of the Centre for Turkish Studies (ZfT), the number of Turkish self-employed persons tripled between 1996 and 2006 to reach 68,000. With this number, they would form the largest group of foreign self-employed persons in Germany before Italians and Greeks. Moreover, the different entrepreneurial activities had clearly diversified over the past decades: Even though 25 per cent of the firms were still active in the catering trade, persons with a Turkish migration background would increasingly establish companies in the areas of trades, IT, telecommunications and the provision of services. A relatively new phenomenon would be freelancers such as lawyers and management consultants. The reasons behind this development would be the high unemployment rate among Turkish migrants but also the desire for independence and social recognition, said Yunus Ulusoy of the ZfT.
NZZ 02.06.08 // FTD 16.06.08 // Das Parlament 23.06.08

Munich: Tax office employs migrants to attend clients speaking foreign languages

Within the framework of a pilot programme, the Bavarian fiscal authority will in future employ ten persons with a migration background to work at different tax offices in Munich. Their work will focus on the attendance of tax payers with little knowledge of German in Turkish or Slavic languages.
NN 05.06.08

Nuremberg: Islamic instruction classes have proved to be positive

According to the school director and teachers, the Islamic instruction classes on offer for almost one year at the Geschwister-Scholl intermediate school have had a positive impact on the performance of Muslim children at school. The children had less problems at school since they felt taken seriously, according to school"s director, Hans Gradl. Remzi Güneysu of the Islamic religious community confirmed that the marks and the behaviour of the youths had improved. As regards the content, the religious instruction classes focused inter alia on the reading of the Koran in German language. As part of this, the statements made in the surahs would be transferred to the daily life of the children in the German society. Moreover, the classes were based on an inter-religious principle. Every year, one additional religion would be a teaching subject, said teacher Amin Rochdi.
NZ 20.06.08

Federal Administrative Court: Protection of foreigners against deportation to crisis areas strengthened

On 24 June 2008, the Federal Administrative Court (BVerwG) in Leipzig has made deportations of foreigners to crisis regions more difficult. The court found that the application of the subsidiary protection according to the so-called EU Qualification Directive does not require the existence of a nationwide armed conflict in order to claim a deportation ban. A civil war-like conflict would be sufficient. Since August 2007, the Directive supplements the already existing national regulations governing bans on the deportation of foreigners. It provides for an individual (subsidiary) protection status of persons who do not fulfil the requirements for a recognition as refugee according to the Geneva Refugee Convention but who would be otherwise threatened by suffering serious harms when returning to their home countries. The legal action was taken by Iraqi nationals who had been recognised as refugees in Germany between 1996 and 2004 and who were deprived their status by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) after the fall of regime of Saddam. The Administrative Court of Munich, which had dismissed the action in the previous instance, now must evaluate if a civil war-like conflict exists.
Kölner Stadtanzeiger online 24.06.08 // Press release of BVerwG 25.06.08 // FAZ 26.06.08

Federal Administrative Court: Headscarf ban for female teacher trainees unlawful

Female teacher trainees wearing a headscarf for religious reasons are not obliged to take off their headgear while working at German schools. This was the decision taken by the Federal Administrative Court (BVerwG) on 26 June 2008 in Leipzig. To expect a future teacher during her traineeship to work without wearing a headscarf could be compared with an unconstitutional admission barrier on exercising a profession. When imposing such ban, the claimant would not be able to finish in a vocationally qualifying way her professional training, which she had started at university. According to the BVerwG, such an interpretation of the schools act (of Bremen) would constitute a disproportionate restriction of the right to freely choose one"s profession, which is guaranteed to all German citizens by the Basic Law.
Press release of the BVerwG 26.06.08 // Focus online 26.06.08 // FAZ 28.06.08

Asylum statistics

In June 2008, a total of 1,672 persons has submitted a petition for political asylum in Germany, which is an increase of 4.6 per cent (+73 persons) over May 2008. Compared to June 2007, the number of asylum applicants has increased by 34.7 per cent (+431 persons). In June, the main countries of origin were Iraq (544), Turkey (111), Kosovo (86) and Vietnam (74) followed by Syria (57). In this month, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees decided on the asylum applications of 1,588 persons. A total of 15 persons (0.9 per cent) was recognised as entitled to political asylum whereas 544 persons (34.3 per cent) were granted protection against deportation according to §60 paragraph 1 of the Residence Act. The applications of 497 persons (31.3 per cent) were rejected. The cases of a further 497 persons (31.3 per cent) have been closed for other reasons (e.g. due to suspensions of asylum procedures because persons have withdrawn their applications).
Press release of BMI 14.07.08

June 2008

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