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efms Migration Report

May 1997

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Hurdles for foreign guests

Since the introduction of new, forgery-proof visa application forms, a decision of the interior ministers of the länder has made it mandatory for the hosts of visitors from countries of which visas are required to submit proof of solvency before the visitor can receive a visa. The hosts must submit their house leases, insurance contracts and income statements. Although this data is considered "voluntary", if the host refuses to provide it, the guest has no legal claim to a visa. Implementation of the so-called "guest act" is left to the discretion of the länder.
taz 3.5.97 // FR 7.5.97

Iranians call for facilitated naturalization

Following the Myconos verdict, Iranian refugees have called on the German federal government to expedite the immigration of Iranian dissidents. Representatives of the Organization of Iranian refugees called it a scandal that Iranian refugees petitioning for naturalization are required to apply first for release from their Iranian citizenship. Up until now Iranian refugees have been subject to the German-Persian Settlement Agreement of 1929, according to which a citizen of either state can only acquire the citizenship of the other state if he has been released from his original citizenship. Representatives of the refugee organization complained of increased harrassment of Iranian refugees at the Iranian embassy in Bonn as a result of the Myconos trial verdict.
Welt 6.5.97

Federal Administrative Court: safe-third-country regulation applies also for family asylum

The Federal Administrative Court ruled on May 6 that the so-called safe-third-country regulation may be an obstacle in granting family asylum. In some cases family asylum is granted to spouses and minors of those entitled to asylum even when the former are not themselves subject to political persecution. Justifying its ruling, the Federal Administrative Court argued that family reunification of foreigners is regulated by the Aliens Law, according to which spouses and minor children of those entitled to asylum should receive a residence permit. If the residence permit is petitioned before entering Germany, family asylum is to be granted regardless of the entry route. It is not unreasonable, the judges" explanation continues, to require of family members who are not persecuted that they apply for a residence permit. However, if they came to Germany without a residence permit the safe-third country regulation would have to be applied.
Bundesverwaltungsgericht Press Announcement 6.5.97 // dpa 6.5.97 // FR 7.5.97

Federal Administrative Court: family asylum for children

Children who are born in Germany while their parents are involved in asylum proceedings are entitled to receive family asylum if their parents qualify for asylum and if the application for family asylum is filed without delay after birth. This decision was made by the Federal Administrative Court on May 13. "Without delay" in this context means that the petition has to be filed within two weeks after birth.
Bundesverwaltungsgericht Press Announcement 13.5.97 // dpa 13.5.97

Russian deserters granted asylum

For the first time a German administrative court has awarded political asylum to a deserter from the former Soviet Union army and his family. The former officer of the Soviet armed forces had filed for revision at the administrative court in Würzburg against the rejection of his asylum petition. The court ruled in favor of the 35 year-old officer because he is threatened with persecution as a traitor due to his interrogations by western secret service agencies.
FR 14.5.97 // NN 14.5.97

Bremerhaven: town council assembly approves Aliens Advisory Board

A proposal to establish an aliens advisory board was passed with a large majority by the town council at its meeting on May 15. Foreigners living in Bremerhaven will have their own representation as of the coming assembly period. The "Council of Foreign Citizens" (Rat der ausländischen Mitbürger) will have 15 members elected at the same time as the town council.
dpa 15.5.97

Bundesrat proposal for citizenship law

The Bundesrat introduced a bill in the Bundestag on May 16 which would provide for a liberalization of citizenship law. The bill was submitted by the länder Hessen, Hamburg, Niedersachsen and Nordrhein-Westfalen. Acccording to the bill, third-generation foreign children born in Germany would automatically receive German citizenship while retaining the citizenship of their parents. Moreover, children whose parents possess an unlimited residence permit and have been living in Germany for at least five years, will be entitled to apply for naturalization.
FAZ 17.5.97 // Das Parlament 23.5.97

USA criticizes repatriation of Bosnian refugees

The speaker of the State Department, Nicholas Burns, has called on Germany to end its forced repatriation of 300,000 Bosnian war refugees currently living in Germany. The speaker voiced the opinion that it is too early to deport refugees to areas where their ethnic group constitutes a minority of the population. Interior Minister Kanther and Foreign Minister Kinkel have dismissed the criticism, stressing that it is incorrect to speak of mass compulsory deportation since the majority of refugees had returned voluntarily. Kanther pointed out that the refugees had been admitted to Germany as guests for a certain period only, and this period was nearing its end. Moreover, it was not in Germany"s power to influence the regional distribution of refugees. Kinkel protested against the interference in Germany"s internal affairs.
dpa 21.5.97 // dpa 22.5.97 // Welt 23.5.97 // SZ 23.5.97

Family asylum may be granted in advance

The High Administrative Court (OVG) of Rheinland-Pfalz in Koblenz has ruled that it is possible to grant family asylum even when the approved asylum status of the head of the family has not yet gone into effect. However, the judges stressed in their explanation that the success of family asylum depends entirely on the confirmation of the family head"s right to asylum. The law, in the judges" statement, allows both administrative officials and the courts to make decisions on asylum claims as well as family asylum. Legislators had not stipulated that the decision on the family-head"s claim to asylum was a precondition for granting family asylum. However, family members must realize that family asylum will be withdrawn if the head of the family is not confirmed as entitled to asylum .
dpa 29.5.97

Debate within the CDU over reform of citizenship law

Several CDU members of parliament have again spoken out in favor of reform of the present citizenship law and accused Manfred Kanther and representatives of the CSU of having a "blockade" attitude. According to these CDU members, whose positions resemble those of the FDP, SPD and the Green Party, the opponents of reform were willing merely to implement the coalition agreements but displayed no interest in developing a new orientation in alien policies. The common element in these reform proposals is that immigration law is seen as a means to control immigration. Furthermore, these CDU politicians feel that expediting immigration by accepting double citizenship would facilitate the integration of foreigners. Advocates of reform have not been able to get their proposals accepted at a strategy meeting with party-leader Schäuble.
SZ 6.5.97 // dpa 8.5.97 // FAZ 9.5.97 // NZ 9.5.97 // SZ 13.5.97 // dpa 13.5.97 // FR 15.5.97

Over 300 immigrant smugglers arrested at southern Germany"s borders

Acording to information from the Federal Border Police headquarters, which is responsible for Bayern and Baden-Württemberg, more than 300 immigrant traffickers and 1,100 illegal refugees were apprehended at the borders. The majority of illegal immigrants came from Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, former Yugoslavia and Irak.
dpa 24.5.97

Decrease in Aussiedler

According to the Federal Commissioner for Aussiedler (ethnic German immigrants from Eastern Europe) Horst Waffenschmidt, 57,809 Ausiedler came to Germany from January to May of 1997, a reduction of 10,473 in comparison to the first five months of the previous year. Waffenschmidt attributes this decrease to the mandatory language-proficiency test which around 30 percent of all applicants for immigration were not able to pass. Furthermore, according to Waffenschmidt, 100,000 Germans in Eastern Europe have not made use of their immigration-confirmations despite having received them a year or more ago.
SZ 2.6.97

Asylum statistics

In May, 7,457 persons applied for asylum in Germany acccording to information from the Federal Ministry of the Interior. This is the lowest level since May 1989 when 6,450 applications were received. Compared to May 1996 there has been a drop of 20.1 percent. The main countries of origin in May 1997 were Turkey, Irak and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The Federal Office for the Recognition of Foreign Refugees made decisions in May on 11,968 asylum petitions of which 4.9% were approved. In the period betweeen January and May 1997 a total of 44,364 persons applied for asylum, which is 4,586 fewer than in the same period of the previous year.
FAZ 5.6.97 // BMI Press Announcement 4.6.97

May 1997

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