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efms Migration Report

May 2000

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Green Card

In May 2000 the Bundeskabinett (Federal Cabinet) passes a decree on issuing work permits to foreign computer specialists: for the present, 10,000 specialists may receive a work permit limited to five years if they have acquired a university diploma or if they will receive an annual income of at least100,000 DM. The regulation applies to non-EU citizens as well as to foreign graduates who have studied computer sciences or related subjects in Germany. Green Card holders will be permitted to change their employer and to set up their own business. The computer specalists may be joined by family members who will receive a work permit after two years. The processing time for a Green Card application is set for one week. The Greens and the CDU request that the work permits are issued for an unlimited period of time. The Bundesvereinigung der Deutschen Arbeitgeberverbände (Federal Association of German Employers) criticizes the lower income limit for creating "a new obstacle" for medium-sized companies. President of IBM-Germany, Erwin Staudt favors the chosen limit since it would prevent wage- dumping . The Federal Government and the IuK-Wirtschaft agree on "immediate measures to cover the demand for computer specialists": until 2003 approximately 60,000 new training vacancies should be created. In addition, the Ministry for Education is starting a 100-Million-DM-University-Program which will be equally financed by the Bund and the Länder. Unversities criticize that this sum will be distributed to all universities over five years time.
Spiegel online 2.5.00 // Bundespresseamt Press Announcement 3.5.00 // Spiegel online 3.5.00 // Welt 6.5.00 // Spiegel 29.5.00 // Spiegel online 31.5.00

Draft on the harmonization of the EU-asylum law

The Ministers of the Interior and of Justice have reached no agreement in Brussels concerning the temporary admission of refugees. Originally, minimal uniform rights had been proposed, such as protection limited to two years, issuing of residence permits, adequate information, access to employment, education, and the right to live within the family. Persons who are not holding a specific asylum status , but who are being tolerated within the EU for at least one year for practical or humanitarian reasons, would have profited from these rights as well. No quotas for the distribution of refugees to EU-countries were planned. Germany objects to the proposed rights since they would apply to too many persons. In addition, the Federal Minister of the Interior, Otto Schily (SPD) rejects the proposed regulation for the unification of families, which had been formulated more liberally than in Germany. The regulation would have comprised under-aged children (children younger than 16 years), parents, siblings and grandparents who are dependent on the foreigner living in a EU-country. The respective person would have had to dispose of a sufficient income, adequate housing space, and medical insurance for his relatives. At present, approximately 60,000 persons come to Germany by family unification every year. Were the regulation to be liberalized, the number of persons coming to Germany would increase to a six-digit number, according to Schily. Germany rejects the French proposal of "bilateral voluntariness" (the receiving country and the refugee agree to the admission) since it"s financing is unclear. Moreover, Schily rejects the distribution of a basic percentage of the EU-refugee fund among the member countries, which would have been set regardless of the number of refugees the respective countries admit.
FR 25.5.00 // NN 30.5.00 // NZZ 30.5.00 // Welt 30.5.00

Schily objects to deportation of refugees from Bosnia, Herzegovina, and Kosovo

The Federal Minister of the Interior, Otto Schily (SPD) appeals to the Interior Ministers of the Länder not to deport traumatized refugees from Bosnia, Herzegovina, and Kosovo. Already the threat of being deported, but even more so the forced deportation itself, have led to a retraumatization of the refugees. In addition, a subsequent treatment in many cases could not be guaranteed. In order to ensure proper medical treatment, the issuing of three-month tolerations should be refrained from and full advantage of the legal regulations should be taken in order to obtain long-term tolerations. Chronically traumatized individuals generally should receive a residence authorization (Aufenthaltsbefugnis). A representative of the UNHCR, Jean-Noël Wetterwald appeals to the Interior Ministers of the Bund and Länder to grant these people and their families a residence permit as the USA, Austria, Sweden, and Denmark have done already.
BMI Press Announcement 27.5.00 // FAZ 30.5.00

General working ban for asylum seekers to be lifted

Before summer break, the SPD and Alliance 90/The Greens want to lift the general working ban for asylum seekers. The waiting period should be reduced to 2 years, according to the Secretary of Labor, Walter Riester (SPD), to one and a half years, according to the SPD"s spokesman on internal affairs, Dieter Wiefelspütz, and to only 3 months, according to the Federal Commissioner for Foreigners, Marieluise Beck. If a company hands in a request at the labor exchange in the future, an asylum seeker should be allowed to take up the job as long as no other German or EU applicant is interested in it. Within four to six weeks, it will be examined whether German or EU-applicants are available. Approximately 100,000 persons would profit from this regulation. Until now, asylum seekers who have entered Germany before May 15, 1997, have not been allowed to work or to take part in training programs. CDU and CSU strongly object to the new proposal.
FR 13.5.00 // taz 20.5.00 // SZ 20.5.00 // Spiegel online 20.5.00

Airport procedure increasingly criticized after female asylum seeker"s suicide

After the suicide of a woman seeking asylum, churches and refugee organizatios increasingly criticize the Federal Government for sticking to the "inhumane" airport procedure. The "longterm internment" were causing unbearable psychic stress to the asylum seekers. The duration of stay within the transit area of the airport is legally limited to 19 days. Subsequently, the refugee may extend his/ her stay or enter pending deportation. Thus, some people remain in the transit area for months. The Federal Government rejects the accusation of being partly responsible for the death of the asylum seeker.
FR 9.5.00 // Gießener Anzeiger 9.5.00 // BMI Press Announcement 11.5.00 // FR 12.5.00 // dpa 17.5.00// FR 17.5.00 // taz 20.5.00

Improved cooperation between Germany and home-countries of deported asylum seekers demanded

At a conference of the Ministers of the Interior, a catalogue proposing the improvement of the cooperation between Germany and the home-countries of deported asylum seekers is presented. Presently, Egypt, Ethiopia, China, Ghana, Lebanon, Nigeria, and Vietnam do not admit deported asylum seekers at all or only reluctantly. According to the catalogue, a country"s cooperation should be decisive for it"s relation to Germany. The Interior Ministers of the Länder call upon the Federal Minister of the Interior, Otto Schily (SPD) to establish a branch office of the Federal Boarder Guard in Berlin which would specialize in procuring ID substitutes.
FR 29.4.00 // FR 6.5.00 // Spiegel 15.5.00

Protection against deportation for Yugoslav deserters

Following the Geneva Convention for Refugees, the Federal Government wants to grant protection against deportation to the 220 Yugoslav conscientious objectors and to the 140 deserters who have fled to Germany during the Kosovo war. During the war, the NATO had appealed to Yugoslav soldiers to desert. The CDU criticizes the regulation as being "absurd", whereas the UNHCR sees the decision as an "important step".
FR 12.05.00 // SZ 15.5.00

Deportation to Turkey

For the third time, Pro Asyl and the niedersächsische Flüchtlingsrat present the catalogue "From Germany into Turkish torture-chambers". Thirteen cases are being described in which asylum seekers who previously had been rejected in Germany were tortured after their return to Turkey. Although the representative of the niedersächsischer Flüchtlingsrat, Claudia Gayer reports a "slightly more differentiated assessment" of Turkey by the Auswärtiges Amt due to the catalogue, she criticizes that the recognition- as well as the deportation procedure have so far changed "in no way whatsoever".
FR 29.04.00 // NN 19.05.00

President of the Federal Office for the Recognition of Foreign Refugees, Hans-Georg Dusch, retires

At the retirement of the president of the Federal Office for the Recognition of Foreign Refugees, Hans-Georg Dusch, the Federal Minister of the Interior, Otto Schily (SPD) emphasizes Dusch"s "strong commitment", his "great expert knowledge", and his "extensive willingness to discourse". The Ministry of Foreign Affairs refuses to comment on Dusch"s early dismissal. His successor will be named soon.
dpa 3.5.00

Aussiedler statistics

8,321 ethnic German immigrants (Spätaussiedler) were registered in May 2000. In May of the previous year 6,542 persons were registered. According to statistics of the Federal Office of Employment (Bundesanstalt für Arbeit), 103,000 Aussiedler were unemployed in April 1999. In April of this year, 77,000 Aussiedler were registered unemployed. The unemployment rate thus has dropped by 25%.
BMI Press Announcement 2.6.00

Asylum statistics

6,316 persons applied for political asylum in Germany in May 2000. Thus, the number of applications for political asylum has risen by 1,312 (26.2%). The rate of approval in completed cases was 2.7% (250 persons). 647 persons (7.1%) were granted protection against deportation following the Geneva Convention for Refugees. Altogether, the number of applications during the first five months of this year (30,210 persons) has reduced by 18% compared to the first five months of the previous year (36,800 persons).
BMI Press Announcement 7.6.00

May 2000

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