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efms Migration Report


May 2007

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EU plans to crack down on employment of illegal migrants

On 14 May 2007, EU Commissioner Franco Frattini presented in Brussels a proposal for a Directive that foresees harsher sanctions on companies and private persons who employ immigrants without labour permit. According to the proposal, such employers will in future neither be granted subsidies from Brussels nor be given public contracts during five years. Moreover, they are to bear the costs for returning illegal persons to their home countries. In case of infringements of the law by subcontractors that cannot be sanctioned, also their respective contractors will be held responsible in future. In addition, the EU Commission will offer illegally employed persons, who are not paid at all or only a very low salary, the possibility to take actions against their employers. The granting of a temporary labour permit is to serve as an incentive for informing the authorities. After having expired, however, they would have to return to their home countries. The proposal is part of the EU strategy to limit and better control immigration.
FAZ 14.05.07 // Focus online 14.05.07 // SZ 18.05.07 // Die Welt online 18.05.07 // NZZ 18.05.07

Consensus and controversies at the second German Islam Conference

Under the auspices of Federal Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble (CDU), the second German Islam Conference was held in Berlin on 2 May 2007, which is aimed at improving the integration of the Muslims living in Germany. At conference, fifteen representatives of the Muslims and fifteen representatives of German authorities agreed on the findings of various working groups addressing topics such as social order, religious issues, economics, media, etc. They were able to reach consensus on some core issues: They agreed, for instance, that the different opinions that have surged over the course of the dialogue were useful and intended. Agreement was also reached about the collection of concrete data on Muslims in Germany and the integration accomplishments they have achieved so far. In addition, all participants agreed that the basis for social life in Germany needed to be a secular state. Controversies arose, inter alia, regarding the role of the newly founded Muslim Coordination Committee (Koordinierungsrat der Muslime - KRM). While the KRM urges the authorities to recognise Islam as an official religious community and demands to be granted the same rights as Christian churches, Interior Minister Schäuble said that it would be too early for such a step, arguing that the KRM would not represent in its entirety the great variety of Muslim life in Germany. Also KRM"s claim to offer boys and girls sports lessons separated by gender triggered off harsh debates. The claim of one working group according to which Muslims would now have to declare their support for the German legal order and value system was rejected by the KRM, however. The Chairman of the Central Council of Muslims and KRM spokesman, Ayyub Axel Köhler, criticised some purposeless debates at the conference and demanded the evaluation of work processes and the introduction of a road-map to define the milestones to be reached by the Islam Conference. All in all, however, the participants expressed their satisfaction with the conference.
FR 03.05.07 // Handelsblatt 03.05.07 // SZ 03.05.07

EU: Common integration policy

On the occasion of an informal meeting of the Integration Ministers of the EU Member States in Potsdam near Berlin on 10 and 11 May 2007, which was chaired by Federal Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble (CDU), the participants discussed a stronger cooperation between the States in the area of integration issues. The cooperation so far comprised an exchange of information and experiences, for the purpose of which the "Group of National Contact Points on Integration" was established on expert level, which is now to be expanded. As part of its work, the Group is to address and work on issues such as social participation and equal opportunities, especially with regard to the second and third generation of immigrants, the prevention of extremism as well as measures to open the society towards the phenomenon of immigration. The concept was criticised as regards financing and cooperation for which the EU Integration Fund contributes currently a budget amounting to 825 million euros. The Integration Minister of the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Armin Laschet (CDU), was of the opinion that the budget would be insufficient for a community comprising 27 Member States. The Integration Commissioner of the Federal Government, Maria Böhmer (CDU), and the Vice-President of the European Commission, Franco Frattini, stressed that the Fund would only mark the beginning. In order to be able to control the successful use of the funds, uniform indicators to benchmark the integration achievements would be developed.
Der Spiegel 10.05.07 // Press release of the Federal Ministry of the Interior 11.05.07

Interim report on the right to remain

According to the first findings of the Federal Ministry of the Interior about the implementation of the provision governing the right to remain for tolerated foreigners in Germany, only a small number of persons affected seems to have achieved a permanent residence status on the basis of these provisions. Between November 2006 and the end of March 2007, about 58,000 of the 160,000 tolerated persons living throughout Germany would have applied for a save right to remain. Only 6,100 persons were finally granted such status. Two thirds of the applicants were not able to fulfil the requirements, such as providing evidence of being employed on a regular basis. The Integration Commissioner of the Federal Government, Maria Böhmer (CDU), appealed to the persons affected to make better use of this opportunity to find a secure perspective for their stay in Germany. Potential beneficiaries had not filed applications throughout all regions.
Federal Government online 09.05.07 // FR 14.05.07

Decision of the German Bundestag: Fingerprints in future stored on passports

On 24 May 2007, the German Parliament (Bundestag) decided that in addition to a digital photograph also a person"s fingerprints will in future be stored in electronic form on the passport. The SPD party prevailed over the CDU and managed to avoid an additional storing of the fingerprints at the registration offices. However, the security services have an online access to the passport photographs stored at the offices.
FR 11.05.07 // BZ 26.05.07

Demands to ban deportations of Tamils are given attention by the BMI

The repeated calls of refugee organisations and politicians for a ban of deportations of Tamils to Sri Lanka have now also found the support of the Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI). The Ministry has recommended the federal states to suspend for an initial period of three months the deportations of Tamils coming from the northern and eastern parts of Sri Lanka due to the fact that the returnees would be facing danger to life on the ways to their home regions; moreover, they would be threatened by forced recruitments of the armed forces. Pro Asyl and Amnesty International (ai) considered the BMI"s recommendation of a limited ban on deportations as being insufficient. The parties to the civil war in Sri Lanka would intentionally involve the civil population into the fights and hence infringed international humanitarian law, criticised Julia Duchrow from ai. The situation of the Tamil refugees is to be discussed at the next conference of the German Interior Ministers.
FR 11.05.07 // FR 26.05.07 // Die Welt 30.05.07

Federal Constitutional Court strengthens protection of foreigners with long-term stays in Germany against deportation

In a decision of 10 May 2007, the Federal Constitutional Court (BverfG) has annulled a decree of the Administrative Court of Baden-Württemberg on the deportation of a Serb national who was born in Germany. The deportation of the man who was sentenced to half a year of prison due to drug offences would be disproportionate, decided the BverfG. For deporting foreigners belonging to the second or third generation of immigrants severe reasons needed to be given.
SZ 30.05.07 // http://www.bundesverfassungsgericht.de/entscheidungen/rk20070510_2bvr030407.html

Integration to be increasingly handled on municipal level

The tenor of the current discussions on integration clearly underlines the importance of the municipal and federal states" levels when it comes to integration efforts. The topic of main emphasis at the 20th German-wide conference of the Integration commissioners was titled "Integration on municipal level: concepts and practice". The Integration Commissioner of the Federal Government, Maria Böhmer (CDU), told the Integration Commissioners of the federal states with emphasis that the solution to integration challenges would be found on local level. The situation in urban quarters and neighbourhoods would be crucial for the question of how good people of different origin could live together. After the conference, the Integration Ministers of the federal states prepared an action paper as a contribution to the Integration Summit to be held in July. It contains, inter alia, approaches such as the increase of the number of education staff at schools with a high proportion of foreign pupils, but also the fostering of the languages of origin at such schools. At the general meeting of the congress of the municipal authorities in Germany, the municipalities" self-commitment to own responsibility to improved integration efforts was stressed as well. Christian Ude (SPD), president of the congress of the municipal authorities in Germany and mayor of the city of Munich said that the cities and municipalities would also in future be willing to introduce new approaches and to reduce existing integration deficits. At the same time, however, he also underlined the obligation of the federal states to make use of their independence in cultural and educational matters in order to better adapt their educational systems to the integration of persons having a migration background.
Federal Government online 04.05.07 // Handelsblatt 14.05.07 // Deutschlandradio online 21.05.07 FR 26.05.07

Emigration of young women leads to precarious ratio of sexes in Eastern Germany

A study of the Berlin-Instituts für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung (Berlin Institute for Population and Development) titled "Not am Mann" (men in need) revealed an increasingly disproportionate ratio of sexes in Eastern Germany, which was caused by selective emigration flows. According to the study, more young women than men would leave the eastern regions of Germany. This was due to gender-specific differences in the education. Data show that between 1999 and 2004 about 30 per cent of the female school leavers in Eastern Germany achieved A-level university entrance certificates while this was true for only 20 per cent of young men. Many young women would move to Western Germany because of better opportunities on the labour market, thus creating a clear surplus of men in some areas of Eastern Germany. The study summarises that this outflow would accelerate social erosion processes and had a negative impact on the demographic prospects of the new federal states.
Die Welt 31.05.07

Nuremberg: Introduction of the first Islamic instruction classes in Germany at higher education school

Starting from autumn 2007, the first Islamic instruction classes in Germany being taught in German will be offered at a higher education school in Nuremberg: Currently, one out of four students of the Geschwister-Scholl-Realschule (intermediate school) is Muslim. At the start, three classes of a total of sixty students will be taught Islamic instruction classes. Only after the foundation of the association "Islamische Religionsgemeinschaft Nürnberg - IRN" (Islamic religious community Nuremberg), in charge of the institution and acting as the contact for the Ministry of Education and Culture, the introduction of Islamic instruction classes was possible. The teachers in charge of the classes underwent training at the University of Nuremberg. According to school"s headmaster, Hans Gradel, this way it could be ensured that Islamic contents are being taught according to general standards. The Chairwoman of the IRN, Nihal Toptas, said she was happy about the instruction classes offered in German language and in accordance with a defined curriculum. In contrast, it would be hard for parents to estimate what kind of contents children would be taught in mosque associations.
NN 04.05.07

Migration balance 2006

According to the Federal Statistical Office, last year"s immigration balance showed a decline: in 2006, 662,000 persons immigrated to Germany while a total of 639,000 left the country. Thus, the number of immigrants has reached the lowest level since 1991. Despite the positive balance of 23,000 immigrants, the figure constitutes a decrease of about 70 per cent compared to 2005. The number of German emigrants experienced a considerable increase: In the past year, more than 155,000 German nationals emigrated from Germany, which is an increase of 7 per cent over the previous year. Main countries of destination for German emigrants were above all Switzerland, the US and Austria. Politicians and the economy are concerned that the loss of young qualified workers could have a negative impact on Germany"s development and hence take into consideration the opening of the labour market for immigrants in a more comprehensive way. Even though the restrictions on the freedom of movement for the new EU citizens would be removed between 2009 and 2011, such removal would come too late for being relevant for the current upswing, said the director of the Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaft (German Institute for Economic Affairs), Michael Hüther.
Die Welt 31.05.07

Foreigners" and naturalisation statistics

The evaluation of the micro census 2005 by the Federal Statistical Office allows drawing the following picture of the population in Germany that has a migration background: A total of 15.3 million persons with migration background are living in Germany, which corresponds to about 18.6 per cent of the total population. Of these, 8 million persons were granted the German nationality so far. About 96 per cent (14.3 million) of them are living in the western federal states and in Berlin. Large cities show the largest proportions of foreign citizens. In Stuttgart, this percentage amounts to about 40 per cent, while the portion in Frankfurt/Main reaches 39.5 per cent and in Nuremberg it comes at 37 per cent. The main countries of origin are Turkey, which accounts for 14.2 per cent of all immigrants, followed by Russia with 9.4 per cent, Poland with 6.9 per cent, Italy with 4.2 and Romania, Serbia and Montenegro with 3.0 per cent each. According to the Federal Statistical Office, the number of naturalisations has considerably fallen over the past years: While the number of migrants being granted the German nationality in 2003 was still at 140,700, the number had declined until 2005 to 117,200. Of these persons, 33,000 were from Turkey, 13,000 from the former Yugoslavia, almost 7,000 from Poland and about 5,000 from Russia.
Stern online 04.05.07 // BZ 05.05.07

Asylum statistics

In May 2007, a total of 1,347 persons has submitted a petition for political asylum in Germany. The figure constitutes an increase of 12.0 per cent (+144 persons) compared to February 2007. Compared to May 2006, the number of asylum seekers has declined by 20.4 per cent (-346 persons). In May 2007, the main countries of origin were Serbia (170), Iraq (129), Turkey (122), Vietnam (115) and Lebanon (55). In May, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees decided on 2,174 asylum applications. Twenty persons (0.9 per cent) were recognised as being entitled to political asylum. Another 170 persons (7.8 per cent) were granted protection against deportation according to § 60, paragraph 1, Residence Act. The applications of 1,228 persons (56.5 per cent) have been rejected. The cases of a further 690 persons (31.8 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 of 09.06.07


May 2007

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