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efms Migration Report


November 2007

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EU plans introduction of recording system for flight passenger data

As part of a new set of measures to combat terrorism, the EU plans in future to capture data of flight passengers. The corresponding proposal for a so-called Passenger Name Record (PNR) system was made by EU Commissioner Franco Frattini in Brussels on 4 November 2007. According to the plans, the data originally captured by airlines anyway for internal use are to be forwarded to the investigation authorities in the Member States to be stored there during a period of at least five years. Moreover, the corresponding authorities in the Member States, which are pending to be set-up, are be entitled to have access to the information of one another. Up to 19 different data of all passengers - including those who are not suspect - such as credit card data, travel routes and seat numbers are to be "stored at stock" in order to allow in cases of potential later suspicions to understand travel patterns of such persons. Data protection officials protested against Frattini"s proposal. The planned measure would be exaggerated and citizens would once again become subject to a general suspect, said Tony Bunyan of the British civil rights organisation Statewatch. Frattini, however, referred to the success of the British police, which was able to make some arrests and to gather valuable information within a pilot project on flight passenger data.
SZ 06.11.07 // NZZ 07.11.07

EU: Migrants transfer billions of euros to their home countries

According to information of the European Statistical Office (Eurostat), immigrants living in the 27 EU Member States sent 26 billion euros to their home countries through official channels in 2006. The largest proportion of it (19.2 billion euros) was transferred to third countries; the remaining part of 6.8 billion euros within the EU. With around 6.8 billion euros, immigrants residing in Spain had transferred the largest amount to their respective countries of origin. As further countries of origin for such money transfers, Eurostat listed Great Britain (5.9 billion euros), Italy (4.4 billion euros) and Germany (2.9 billion euros). In 2005, the amount of money transferred back was still considerably lower reaching 23 billion euros, according to Eurostat. Estimate that take into consideration additional money transfers using unofficial channels suggest that the sums being transferred are much higher.
NZ 14.11.07

In Turkey Böhmer defends the new provisions on language skills required for the reunification of spouses

On the occasion of her 3-days visit to Turkey, Minister of State Maria Böhmer (CDU) was confronted by officials and the press with clear criticism of the new provisions foreseen by the German immigration law. Particularly criticised was the requirement to provide evidence on language skills prior to the reunification of spouses, which is applicable since 29 August 2007 and requires the acquisition of a basic German language skills before one of the spouses is allowed to enter Germany. On the occasion of Böhmer"s visit, the large Turkish daily "Hürriyet" published a headline worded "The German Minister that makes brides cry". Besides the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who considered the new immigration law to be an infringement of human rights, also the Minister of Labour, Mustafa Faruk Celik, expressed criticism. He considered the new provision on language skills as being discriminating. The critics are not aimed against the requirement of language skills in general - they are rather referring to the unequal treatment of Turkish nationals compared to citizens of other countries such as Japan und the US whose nationals are not required to provide evidence of language skills. Böhmer defended the provision and underlined that it would be applicable also to nationals of other countries and not only Turkish citizens. The aim would be to allow women who join their spouses a self-determined life and opportunities to really participate in social life. She regretted that the public discourse was primarily about the reunification of spouses and not about the integration of the Turks living in Germany. Despite the criticism, the atmosphere under which the talks were held was very open, constructive and friendly, said Böhmer. The Turkish government, for instance, committed itself to actively participate in the implementation of the German National Integration Plan.
KNA 22.11.07 // KNA 23.11.07 // FAZ 24.11.07 // Die Welt 26.11.07

Immigration of scientists facilitated

By the implementation of the EU Research Directive through the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) in Nuremberg, the immigration of scientists to Germany for labour purposes will be simplified with effect from 1 December 2007: in future, research institutions can register at the BAMF. This will allow them to issue themselves work and residence permits for experts from abroad, who are to be employed within a research project. BAMF spokeswoman Claudia Möbus said that the new regulation would enable scientific institutes to recruit and contract employees according to their specific needs. The BAMF and an advisory council comprising nine experts from science, the economy and politics decide on the granting of the corresponding certificates for the institutes on the basis of the outlines of the research projects which are presented by the applicants. According to Karl-Dieter Grüske, member of the advisory council, a particularly positive aspect of the new regulation would be that the spouses of the scientists are now also allowed to reside in Germany.
NN 01.11.07

Little interest among highly-qualified from India and China to take up employment in Germany

Highly-qualified workers from India and China seem to have only little interest in taking-up work in Germany even though the Federal Government wants to facilitate the immigration of highly-qualified workers from third countries in certain professions in order to encounter the increasing lack of highly-skilled staff in the economy. For highly-qualified workers from India and China, Germany would not be the country of choice, said Oliver Koppel of the Institute of the German Economy (Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft - IDW), which maintains close links to the employers" association. Meanwhile, highly-qualified persons would find attractive working conditions in their home countries - those, who wanted to emigrate would prefer English-speaking countries such as the US and Great Britain, where also the remunerations often would be better, said Koppel. Moreover, other countries seem to care more about the immigration of highly-qualified workers. The 500 best graduates from the renowned Institute of Technology in Madras, India, for instance, would be recruited directly to the US, says Bratin Saha, who also graduated from the institute. Talent scouts of US companies would have been repeatedly visited the institute, whereas representatives of German companies would have never shown up. Koppel favours the recruitment of highly-qualified workers from Eastern Europe, saying that the geographic location of Germany and its culture would be closer to them and many even had good German language skills. For persons from EU accession countries seeking work, however, no Blue Card but rather a reduction of bureaucratic obstacles would be needed.
Die Welt 04.11.07

Decrease in population ever harder to be compensated by immigration

Following the Federal Statistical Office and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) also the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) has presented figures showing that the decrease in population in Germany can ever harder be compensated by immigration. This would be due to a decline in the number of immigrants. According to the DIW, the net immigration to Germany in the year 2001 was at as much as 270,000 persons - until 2006, this figure declined to just 23,000 persons. In order to keep the population figure of about 80 million until 2050, a total of 270,000 persons needed to immigrate to Germany annually. With an immigration of 100,000 persons per year, the population would decline to reach 69.9 million people in 2050, according to estimates of the DIW. The consequences of the decrease in population such as a lack of highly-qualified workers or the danger of funding gaps in the social security schemes would constitute problem areas that have become evident already today. In the context of the lack of highly-qualified workers, the SPD and CDU parties forming the governing coalition are currently discussing about lowering the admission obstacles for highly-qualified immigrants and also on EU level the topic of adopting a more generous immigration policy is on the agenda.
Handelsblatt 22.11.07

Debate on the reporting obligation of physicians when treating illegals

A debate has been triggered-off between the SPD and CDU parties about the statutory obligation of physicians and hospitals to notify the competent authorities about persons living illegally in Germany: While the SPD demands a limit of the reporting obligation, the CDU is opposed to watering down the provision. Hertha Däubler-Gmelin (SPD), chairwoman of the Human Rights Commission of the Federal Parliament, justified this initiative by arguing that the reporting obligation would unilaterally give preference to the interests of the state over the human rights of the persons affected. The member of the Committee for Internal Affairs of the Federal Parliament, Ralf Göbel (CDU), said the constitutional state could not accept that persons would stay in Germany without the corresponding permits. In a report on the examination of the legal situation regarding the reporting obligation, Federal Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble (CDU) expressed himself even in favour of a tightening of the provision. Accordingly, authorities should be obliged to report on illegals even in cases where they get in contact with them by coincidence. In a report of the German Institute for Human Rights published on 8 November 2007, relief organisation, Churches and physicians made an appeal to politics to ease the reporting obligation, arguing that this obligation would not contribute to a better control of illegal immigrants anyway since the latter would avoid the contact to official institutions and physicians due to their fear of being arrested. The report concludes with the statement that the respect of human rights should not depend on the residence status of persons.
FR 09.11.07 // taz 09.11.07 // BZ 21.11.07

Increasing tensions between Turkish and Kurdish migrants observed in Germany

Attacks of the prohibited Kurdish Labour Party PKK in south-eastern Turkey and the invasion of units of the Turkish army to northern Iraq in reply to the terrorist acts have lead to tensions between Kurdish and Turkish migrants in Germany: According to statements of Kurds living in Germany, the mistrust of Turks towards Kurds has increased considerably. The mesopotamic cultural club in Frankfurt/Main contacted for instance the police because of fears the club"s premises could become target of attacks. On 10 November 2007, the Turkish students" initiative in Frankfurt/Main organised a demonstration under the motto "No to the terror of PKK and yes for peace in Turkey", which was attended by 1,300 persons, many of them dressed in uniforms or wearing Turkish flags. Following riots between nationalist Turks and Kurds in the Berlin district of Kreuzberg, the Senator of the Interior, Ehrhart Körting (SPD), is now considering a tightening of the Law concerning Assemblies and Processions. He said he would not accept that extremist organisations like the Turkish-national group "the grey wolves" would be protected by fundamental rights, and also the flag of the PKK would be prohibited. However, there are also migrants of Turkish origin expressing solidarity for their Kurdish fellow citizens. The House of the Turkish People (Türkisches Volkshaus) in Frankfurt/Main, for instance, participated in a demonstration under the motto "No to hatred against Kurds in Germany - for a democratic solution of the Kurds" issue", which was attended by about 400 persons. Ismail Ersen of the House of the Turkish People said that those joining Kurds today in demonstrations might run the risk of being declared traitors to Turkey by certain circles.
BZ 06.11.07 // BZ 12.11.07 // FR 12.11.07

Right-wing extremists use increasingly the internet to promote their ideology

Right-wing extremist parties and organisations are using increasingly the internet to spread their propaganda and to win supporters. The organisation "Jugendschutz.net", which was established by the Ministers for Youth of the federal states and whose mission is to unveil infringements of the provisions for the protection of children and young people in the internet, said that since 2006 the number of websites that can be linked to the right-wing extremist scene had increased by 250 to reach 1,450 sites in 2007. Also independent video platform such as "YouTube" or "SchülerVZ", which are used primarily for introducing the profiles of their users, would be used increasingly to disseminate right-wing extremist ideas. At the autumn conference of the Federal Office for Criminal Investigation (BKA) held on 21 November 2007, Stefan Glaser of "Jugendschutz.net" said, that the self-presentation of the right-wing extremist scene had changed over the past decade. While up to 1999 the internet sites primarily contained texts and superficial propaganda, nowadays they presented content in a modern and fashionable way to appeal youths. According to Glaser, adventure-oriented offers for youths such as group excursions, concerts and sport events would be of special importance since they were used to spread political messages in a much more subtle way than before. Now, "Jugendschutz.net" has also founded an "International Network against Hatred in the Internet (INACH) in order to take into account the increasing number of neo-Nazi-websites that switched to foreign providers.
BZ 22.11.07

Islamists threaten German Muslims

For the first time, threats of Islamist extremists were issued against German Muslims: On a video of the "Global Islamic Media Front", which maintains links to Al-Qaida, the Secretary-general of the Central Muslim Council (ZMD), Aiman Mazyek, was called an enemy of Islam. He would be a friend of the Jews and Christians and, moreover, would represent the religion of democracy - reasons for which Mazyek could no longer be considered to be a Muslim. Besides Mazyek, also the Turkish-Islamic Union of the Institute for Religion (Ditib) was verbally attacked by claiming that this organisation would not follow Islam, according to the video message. The BKA did not consider the threats as concrete enough for having to introduce stricter security measures. Mazyek himself considered the threats also as being somehow positive. The message showed that there would be no gap between Islam and the West - there would be only peaceful people on the one side and on the other side those who prayed to violence. However, he would be concerned about the increasing aggression of the extremists in Germany, on which also Ibrahim El Zayat, chairman of the Islamic Community in Germany (IGD) issued warnings. Some Muslims in Germany had the impression that the work of the peaceful Islamic associations would be not successful and useless, for which they turned to radical positions. Even he himself, who had been considered to be an Islamist by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) due to his contacts to the international Muslim brotherhood, would meanwhile be insulted as a weakling.
Der Spiegel online 21.11.07 // Die Welt 23.11.07

Bafög reform improves education opportunities of foreign youths

The reform of the Federal Education Support Act (BAföG) adopted on 16 November 2007 by the Federal Parliament now extends the circle of those eligible for receiving benefits also to non-German youths. Maria Böhmer (CDU), the Federal Commissioner for Integration, praised the measure as a means to improve education opportunities. In the past, numerous foreign youths could not undergo qualified training due to financial reasons which caused a lot of potential to remain unused. According to the new regulation, the future benefits are subject to residence titles that reflect a long-term perspective to stay in the country. By introducing the reform, the Federal Government keeps a self-obligation that was promised within the framework of the National Integration Plan.
Federal Government online 16.11.07

Bavaria: Establishment of a legal support fund for refugees inmates awaiting deportation

According to information of the Jesuit Refugee Service, a legal support fund - as it already exists in the federal states of Berlin and Brandenburg - for arrested persons awaiting deportation is now to be established also in Bavaria. A total of 13 organisations including amnesty international (ai), the local chapter of Caritas and the Ökumenisches Kirchenasylnetz (Ecumenical Network for Church Asylum) announced to support the project by contributing donations. Dieter Müller of the Jesuit Refugee Service said that the fund is meant to contribute to equal opportunities in court proceedings.
SZ 06.11.07

PIRLS/IGLU Study: Primary schools have made progress

According to the results of the new German IGLU Study (run as "International Primary School Reading Literacy Study" in Germany; on international level it is called "Progress in International Reading Literacy Study" - PIRLS), German children in the fourth year of primary school achieved considerably better results in a comparison between 45 countries than they did in the first study conducted five years ago and also compared to the 15-year-old participants in the PISA Study. However, the study also underlines the unequal opportunities offered within the educational system, which often have been criticised before. Also at primary school the performance of children would be not only decisive for their success at school, but first of all the familiar situation at home. At the end of the time at primary school, a relatively low number of so-called "children at risk" could be observed in Germany; only 13 per cent of the children had a weak reading literacy. Also children of immigrants would have a better reading literacy today; in Germany, however, they still would be strongly disadvantaged and acquired clearly worse reading skills than German children. The bad results for this group could be attributed particularly to the difficult social situation. Only Norway would be worse when comparing on international level the reading literacy of children with migration background. The authors of the study welcomed the modernisation of the teaching concepts an added that early language training for children would pay off.
SZ online 28.11.07 // SZ 29.11.07

Federal Administrative Court bolsters protection of third-country nationals against deportation

In a judgement of general principle of 15 November 2007, the Federal Administrative Court (BVerwG) has bolstered the situation of foreigners in Germany who are awaiting deportation. According to the judgement, the courts must in future take into consideration always the current situation prevailing on the key-date of the deportation order; before, they based their judgements on the situation prevailing at the time the foreigners" authority took its decision. Altered circumstances such as changes in the family situation or the renouncement of a criminal career which occurred after an authority had taken the decision to deport a third-country national will thus in future to be taken into account in court proceedings. So far, this regulation only applied to persons from EU Member States or comparable countries.
Press release of BVerwG 15.11.07 // epd 23.11.07

Asylum statistics

In November 2007, a total of 1,771 persons has submitted a petition for political asylum in Germany. The figure constitutes an increase of 1.6 per cent (+31 persons) compared to October 2007. Compared to November 2006, the number of asylum seekers has increased by 11.7 per cent (+204 persons). In November, the main countries of origin were Iraq (591), Serbia (169), Turkey (123) and Vietnam (97) followed by Syria (81). In November, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees decided on 2,895 asylum applications. Sixty-four persons (2.2 per cent) were recognised as being entitled to political asylum. Another 893 persons (30.9 per cent) were granted protection against deportation according to § 60, paragraph 1, Residence Act. The applications of 1,046 persons (36.1 per cent) were rejected.The cases of a further 801 persons (27.7 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 06.12.07


November 2007

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