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efms Migration Report

March 2000

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At the fair for computers (CEBIT) in Hannover the Federal Chancellor Gerhard Schröder proposes to admit a limited number of highly specialized computer scientists to Germany. According to the industry, there presently is a shortage of 75,000 computerexperts in Germany. By introducing the so-called "Green Card", the Federal Government wishes to draw 10,000 experts to Germany, especially from India and Eastern Europe. They are to receive a work permit limited to three years, which may be extended to five years at the most. The need for additional 10,000 specialists is to be examined subsequently. The Government plans, within the next three to four months, to issue relevant decrees regarding industrial and residence law. The Green Card would only apply to the computer industry, not to trade, health care or catering trade. The Greens are in favor of a regulation including families. Besides, they point to the necessity to integrate the newcomers once they have entered Germany. The CDU and CSU connect the Green Card with asylum and immigration. They call for a law limiting immigration and for the replacement of the basic right to asylum by an institutional guarantee. The spokesman for internal affairs of the SPD, Dieter Wiefelspütz declares that, during this parliamentary term, the recruitment of computer scientists will "definitely" not lead to an alteration of the asylum law. The parliamentarian state secretary in the Ministry of the Interior, Cornelie Sonntag-Wolgast (SPD) points out that "time is needed" to work out an appropriate immigration law. Besides, such a law should be "in line with the EU"s general ideas on asylum". Presently, 37,000 unemployed computer scientists and 56,000 unemployed engineers are registered in Germany. The vice-president of the Federation of German Trade Unions (DGB), Ursula Engelen-Kefer demands to examine whether not part of them could fill the vacancies. Statistics of the Federal Office of Employment (BfA) though show that most of the unemployed do not meet the industry"s needs since they are insufficiently qualified. The president of the BfA, Bernhard Jagoda requests that the industry agrees to an increased employment of older persons and to the creation of additional training vacancies. Calling for "children instead of Indians" Jürgen Rüttgers (CDU) tries to gain support in the election campaign in Nordrhein-Westfalen. After public criticism, he refines his slogan into "training instead of immigration". Up to now, the question whether, for example, Indians wish to come to Germany remains unanswered.
FAZ 2.3.00 // FR 3.3.00 // dpa 6.3.00 // Spiegel online 9.3.00 //Spiegel online 10.3.00 // Spiegel online 13.3. 00 // SZ 13.3.00 // Spiegel online 14.3.00 // SZ 14.3.00 // dpa 15.3.00 // SZ 15.3.00 // FR 15.3.00 // NZ 17.3.00 // Spiegel online 22.3.00 // taz 27.3.00 // Spiegel online 31.3.00


A transit agreement for Yugoslavian citizens voluntarily returning to their native country is signed by the following countries: Germany, Albania, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Croatia, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Slovenia and Hungary. Since the refugees are able to take along more personal belongings if traveling by land, the German Federal Minister of the Interior, Otto Schily (SPD) hopes for an increase in the number of refugees voluntarily leaving the country. Although Schily proceeds to support the compulsory repatriation, he demands to have it carried through carefully. Nevertheless, he rejects the proposal of the Federal Commissioner for Foreigners, Marieluise Beck (Alliance 90/The Greens) to appoint a commissioner for the repatriation of Kosovo-Refugees. The UNHCR warns against the repatriation of members of minorities such as Sinti, Romanies, and Moslem Slavs. Furthermore, it criticizes the repatriation of criminals since the Kosovo police and judicial system are yet but insufficiently developed.
Welt 3.3.00 // BMI Press Announcement 10.3.00 // FAZ 11.3.00 // BMI Press Announcement 21.3.00 // FAZ 31.3.00 // FR 31.3.00

Smart Card for asylum seekers

In November 1999, the Federal and Interior Ministers of the Bundesländer decided to introduce a smart card for asylum seekers in the near future. Now, Bayern as the first Bundesland in Germany is planning a pilot scheme to be carried through in the area of Nürnberg at a time not yet set. Apart from fingerprints, data on financial support and on identification, judicial proceedings and the status of the asylum seeker shall be recorded on the smart card. According to the CSU, the smart card is especially desirable because the identification of asylum seekers becomes easier and the abuse of state payments is prevented. The representative of the Greens, Susanna Tausendfreund criticizes the introduction of the smart card since it would suggest the abuse of state payments by all aslyum seekers.
SZ 2.3.00

Legislative initiative against increased welfare-payments to asylum seekers

The Bundesrat objects to the legislative initiative against increased welfare-payments to asylum seekers introduced by the CDU-/CSU-governed Länder, Bayern, Baden-Württemberg, Hessen, and Saarland. At the time, asylum seekers receive only 80% of the usual welfare-benefit rate. As of June 1, 2000, those asylum seekers who, in the past three years, have received the lower welfare-benefit rate shall now receive the full social-benefit rate. According to the Länder mentioned above, the planned increase in payments was to be revoked since it were an unjustified privilege. This legislative initiative being rejected by the Bundesrat, Hessen now plans a new initiative on the grounds of the unreasonable financial burden placed on the local authority districts.
SZ 2.3.00

President of the Federal Office for the Recognition of Foreign Refugees retires

At the beginning of December 1999, the president of the Federal Office for the Recognition of Foreign Refugees (BAFl) Hans Georg Dusch was unexpectedly recalled to work in Berlin. Now it has become known that "he wishes for an early retirement" at the end of April. Dusch has been president of the BAFl for eight years with one interruption. Until the end of April, his successor will be decided on.
Das Parlament 7.3.00 // FR 17.3.00

German police admonished

The human rights organization amnesty international (ai) admonishes the German police for repeatedly having maltreated asylum applicants. Actually, the number of maltreatments is lower than four years ago, but the proceedings against violent policemen were only carried through very slowly. In March as well, physicians and psychologists of the Berliner Behandlungszentrum für Folteropfer (Berlin Center for the Treatment of Victims of Torture) criticize that, at the instigation of the Interior Administration, all certificates for traumatized Bosnian civil war refugees issued by private physicians were checked by physicians of the police (PÄD). 80% of the traumatized refugees holding a certificate were thus declared "fit to travel" by the PÄD. Up to now, 24 cases have been reviewed by third experts. The new experts" reports in all cases confirm the traumatization certified by the private physicians. Critique is raised that the reports of the PÄD were issued in support of a certain political strategy. The critique is rejected by the Speaker of the Interior Administration, Stefan Paris as being "exaggerated".
NN 17.3.00 // NN 18.3.00

Specifically female grounds for asylum

At the International Women"s Day, the United Nations Children"s Fund (Unicef) points out that most countries continue to violate the human rights of girls and women. Unicef calls for support of these maltreated women. Jürgen Meyer, the SPD"s expert for legal questions, participates in drawing up the Charter for Basic Human Rights for the EU. At the meeting of the EU-Ministers of the Interior and of Justice in Brussels, he presents a draft which also comprises "specifically female grounds for asylum" as is demanded by Pro Asyl.
NN 25.3.00 // FR 28.3.00

Court descisions on the carrying of headscarves

The Bavarian Administrative Court rules that women from Iran who have been rejected as asylum seekers must principally, for the documents for the journey home, allow photographs to be taken of them carrying a headscarf. Iran refuses to admit women whose documents show them without a headscarf. The Administrative Court in Stuttgart dismisses the charge of an Afghan elementary school teacher to be employed in the civil service, since the teacher refuses to take off her headscarf during class. Grounds for the rejection of the charge is the teachers" duty to omit clearly religious demonstrations during class.
dpa 23.3.00 // Spiegel online 24.3.00

Easier entry to Germany for foreigners obliged to hold a visa

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Joschka Fischer (Alliance 90/ The Greens) instructs the German diplomatic missions abroad to make use of their discretionary powers to issue visa more frequently. Fischer, thus, hopes to establish an easier entry to Germany for foreigners obliged to hold a visa. He also wishes to demonstrate that Germany is a country "open and friendly to foreigners".
dpa 8.3.00

Asylum seekers entitled to toleration if identity unclear

The Federal Administrative Court rules that asylum seekers whose identity has not been solved are entitled to toleration. According to the Foreigners Law, a person can be tolerated if a deportation is impossible. If a person is not identified, he or she will not be granted a residence permit. Up to now, the Foreigners Law does not provide the possiblity of a toleration designed to solely suspend deportation.
Bundesverwaltungsgericht Press Announcement 21.3.00

Aussiedler statistics; "Contract for Integration"

5,613 Spätaussiedler (ethnic German immigrants) were registered in Germany in March 2000. In the same month of the previous year 5,576 persons were registered. The Federal Commissioner for Aussiedler Jochen Welt proposes to establish an "advisory service for migrants". "Integration-networks" as well as job centers and social security offices should participate in drawing up a "contract for integration" in cooperation with the migrants. The contract should comprise individual aid programmes which will regularly be continued and checked. The aid programmes should comprise professional as well as social elements. If certain commitments are not fulfilled (for instance the participation in language courses) sanctions should be made possible. Welt hopes this attempt will lead to efficient and lasting integration.
BMI Press Announcement 10.3.00 // BMI Press Announcement 5.4.00

Asylum statistics

6,204 persons applied for political asylum in Germany in March 2000. This is an increase of 1.4% (87 persons) compared to last month. In contrast to the same month of the previous year, the number of asylum seekers is reduced considerably by 21.7% (1,172 persons). The rate of approval in completed cases was 2.9% (330 persons). 6.6% (759 persons) were granted protection following the Geneva Convention for Refugees.
BMI Press Announcement 7.4.00

March 2000

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