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efms Migration Report

March 2009

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UN forecast: Germany in future among main immigration countries

By 2050, Germany will be among the countries experiencing the most comprehensive immigration worldwide. This is the result of a new forecast of the United Nations (UN) on the development of the world"s population. With an estimated annual inflow of 110,000 migrants on average, Germany can avoid a stronger decline of its overall population from currently 82 million to 71 million within the next 40 years. By this, Germany would occupy the sixth rank of the main countries of immigration behind states like the US (1.1 million), Great Britain (178,000) and Italy (157,000). The main reasons for the need of an increased immigration are considered to be on the one hand that the reproduction of the German population is below the level needed to maintain the current figures and, on the other hand, that the populations in less developed countries are growing strongly. The UN estimated that the world population will grow by 2.3 billion by 2050 so that a total of 9.1 billion people will live on earth by the middle of the 21st century.
Die Welt 12.03.09 // Stern online 12.03.09

EU Commission to step up the fight against human trafficking

On 25 March 2009, the Commission of the European Union (EU) adopted proposals to step up the fight against human trafficking. The initiative is meant to tackle the exploitation of human labour but particularly to combat sexual exploitation. The proposal are to replace the existing legislation and will oblige all Member States to comply with high and common standards on the prosecution of offenders, the protection of victims and the prevention of offences. Basically, the proposals provide for the possibility to penalise offences committed abroad and to offer victims comprehensive medical, legal and practical assistance and to protect them. In future, also clients of victims of sexual exploitation and also so-called "sex tourists" travelling abroad to abuse children can be prosecuted. The Vice President of the EU Commission, Jacques Barrot, said the EU could not accept these terrible crimes, which would stop at no borders. Therefore, EU could only set the highest and most ambitious standards in fighting them. The details of the proposals need to be further discussed at the EU Council.
Press release EU Commission 25.03.09 // NZZ 26.03.09

First Iraqi refugees arrive in Germany

On 19 March 2009, the first 122 of a total of 2,500 Iraqi quota refugees from Syria arrived in Germany. The refugees, in the opinion of the Federal Government in special need of protection, who comprise Christians, victims of torture, ill persons, single parents, minors and elderly people, will be distributed to the different federal states according to a predefined key after having stayed their first two weeks in the border transit camp of Friedland near Göttingen. Besides the special need for protection, the "integration ability" and "relatives living in Germany" have been taken into consideration when selecting the refugees. They will be then be prepared for their life in Germany - limited to three years - by means of integration courses. Even though human rights and refugee organisations in Germany welcomed the admission of the Iraqis, they argued that this could only be a the first step. They demanded a resettlement programme by which Germany would oblige itself to admit a fixed quota of refugees each year. Moreover, comprehensive integration measures were needed. With a total of 2,500 refugees, Germany admits one quarter of the 10,000 quota refugees accepted by the EU, which corresponds to 0.1 per cent of the estimated total of 2.2 million refugees who have fled from Iraq to neighbouring countries.
Die Zeit online 04.03.09 // BZ 05.03.09 // taz 14.03.09 // FAZ 19.03.09 // Der Spiegel online 19.03.09

Introduction of a visa database ever more unlikely

Following harsh criticism from politics and the public, Federal Minister of Justice, Brigitte Zypries (SPD) has stopped for the time being the so-called "visa invitation and warning database". The Union parties and SPD agreed in their coalition agreement to set up a central database to not only register foreign visitors but also the persons inviting and guaranteeing for them. The idea for such database was triggered off by the so-called "visa misuse affair" during the time of the red-green government coalition. The plans to register persons and organisations who invite more than five persons obliged to have a visa within a period of two years to Germany as so-called "frequent inviting persons" together with criminally motivated visa dealers met with fierce opposition. Churches, charitable organisations, trade unions, universities and industry associations saw their international contacts being considered as "generally suspected". The opposition parties also reject such database. The Federal Ministry of the Interior reproached Zypries with "having clearly broken the coalition agreements" and refused to accept a compromise subsequently proposed by the Ministry of Justice.
SZ 06.03.09 // FR 11.03.09 // BZ 18.03.09

Investigations against representatives of Islamic organisations

The public prosecutor"s office of Munich has instigated investigations against leading functionaries of Islamic associations. Besides the chairman of the Islamic Community of Germany (IGD in its German abbreviation), Ibrahim el Zayat, and Oguz Üçüncü, secretary general of the Turkish Islamistic organisation of "Milli Görus" (IGMG), another five functionaries are accused of having formed a criminal organisation. They are suspect of having collected money for Islamic objectives such as the support of the Palestinian group of Hamas considered a terrorist organisation by obtaining public funds surreptitiously, by defalcation, money laundry and by the protraction of bankruptcies.
FR 20.03.09 // FR 21.03.09 // FAZ 21.03.09 // Die Zeit 26.03.09 // SZ 27.03.09

Initiative demands introduction of right to vote for migrants in local elections

On 6 March 2009, migrant associations, charitable organisations and trade unions launched a campaign in the federal states of Rhineland-Palatinate and Hesse aimed at introducing the right to vote in local elections for all foreigners. According to the Alien"s Advisory Boards, about two-thirds (4.5 million) of the migrants living in Germany would be still excluded on all levels from the right to vote. The chairman of the social welfare organisation Diakonisches Werk in Hesse and Nassau, Wolfgang Gern, criticised that since the introduction of the right vote in local elections for non-German EU citizens there would be "two classes of foreigners" in Germany. The right to vote in local elections, however, should constitute a basic right in a democracy, said Gern. The demands of the initiators are meanwhile also supported by 31 municipalities in the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia and the former President of the Federal Parliament, the Bundestag, Rita Süssmuth who said, that it would be always and only demanded that "the others" should be willing to integrate. In such case, however, they also needed to be given the corresponding opportunities; the political participation at places where the people live formed part of integration. In order to achieve an amendment of the German Basic Law allowing such right to vote, a two-third majority in both houses of the German Parliament, the Bundestag and the Bundesrat, is required. For that purpose, the organisers of the campaign started the collection of signatures.
FR 07.03.09 // dpa 25.03.09

Migrants help migrants - a successful integration concept

So-called "ethnic mentoring" (migrants help migrants) successfully contributes to the integration of migrants. This is the finding of a study, which was implemented by the european forum for migration studies of the University of Bamberg on behalf of the Mercator Foundation. Within the framework of the study, the effect of support classes taught by prospective teachers to migrant children was evaluated. One of the main findings of the study is that support teachers with own migration background are most successful. While 40 per cent of the school students who were taught by migrants could improve their marks in German language classes, only 25 per cent of the students instructed by German mentors could improve their results. Federal Integration Commissioner Maria Böhmer (CDU) praised the "double approach" of the support classes. It would not only educate the students but the future teachers as well. Many schools had a high proportion of migrants, a circumstance for which many teachers would not be prepared for sufficiently. Also in other areas of integration fostering, the ethnic mentoring approach can increasingly be found. In Berlin, for instance, women - calling themselves "Kiezmütter" (mothers of inner city districts) - with migration background advise immigration families on issues such as educational support schemes, the development of children and on how to prevent domestic violence. Within the framework of the MiMi health care project (Mit Migranten für Migranten - Interkulturelle Gesundheit in Deutschland - With migrants for migrants - intercultural health in Germany) migrants are meanwhile trained throughout Germany to become health mediators who help and advise other migrants in dealing with the German health care system.
NN 12.03.09 // BZ 13.03.09 // taz 25.03.09 // Die Zeit 26.03.09

Survey: German Turks prefer "centre-left" parties

The majority of the migrants in Germany of Turkish origin would vote in this year"s general elections for the SPD or the Greens. This is the finding of a representative survey of the Berlin-based market research institute "Data 4 U". In concrete figures, 55.5 per cent of the 690,000 votes of German Turks entitled to vote would be given to the SPD, 23.3 per cent would elect the Greens, only 10.1 per cent the CDU/CSU and 0.9 per cent would favour the FDP, according to the survey. Bülent Arsalan, chairman of the "Deutsch-Türkisches Forum" (German-Turkish Forum) of the CDU called this finding "painful" to his party. The Union party currently underwent a paradoxical situation - on the one hand it lost national-conservative voters because of its integration policy, on the other hand, it would not win any Turkish voters in addition. Emine Demirbüken-Wegner, CDU member, said that the Union could be more successful if more Germans of Turkish origin were found among the Union"s personnel. If for example the Turkish immigrants could vote directly the chairman of the Greens of Turkish origin, Cem Özdemir, would clearly be the winner of the elections.
Die Welt 18.03.09

Higher Social Court of North Rhine-Westphalia: payment of parental leave benefit dependent on residence title is admissible

Authorities are allowed to demand different requirements to be fulfilled for the payment of parental leave benefits in dependence of the residence status of a third country national living in Germany. This decision was taken on 5 March 2009 by the first Higher Social Court (LSG in its German abbreviation) of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) as the first one in Germany. It would be constitutional to differentiate between foreigners with residence rights granted on humanitarian grounds and others who had residence titles furnished with more rights. As the legislator has foreseen to pay parental leave benefits only to third country nationals who are likely to stay in Germany on a lasting basis, owners of residence titles on humanitarian grounds had to provide evidence that they had at least a chance of obtaining a more lasting residence permit.
Press release LSG-NRW 05.03.09 // dpa 05.03.09

Asylum statistics

In January 2009, a total of 1,995 persons submitted an application for political asylum in Germany. The figure constitutes an increase of 3.1 per cent (+59 persons) compared to February 2008 and inclined by 29.1 per cent (+450 persons) compared to January 2008. The main countries of origin in March were Iraq (477), Afghanistan (160), Kosovo (124) and Turkey (112) followed by Vietnam (98). In this month, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees decided on 2,651 asylum applications. A total of 761 persons (28.7 per cent) were recognised as refugees under the Geneva Refugee Convention. These included 38 persons (1.4 per cent) who were recognised as entitled to asylum under Art. 16a of the German Basic Law, and 723 persons (27.3 per cent) protected under § 3 of the Asylum Procedure Act in conjunction with § 60 (1) of the Residence Act. The applications of 1,095 persons (41.3 per cent) were rejected. The cases of a further 674 persons (25.4 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 the BMI 09.04.09

March 2009

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