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efms Migration Report

October 2000

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Immigration, integration and "Leitkultur" (guiding culture): The political debate expands

The CDU"s parliamentary leader in the Bundestag, Friedrich Merz suggests to especially emphasize immigration and change of the asylum law in the next parliamentary elections. The SPD, Greens, FDP, PDS, and even CDU members criticize his proposal. According to the chairwoman of the Federal Government"s Commission on Migration, Rita Süssmuth (CDU), "stirring up emotions against foreigners (should) be no subject in parliamentary elections". CDU party leader, Angela Merkel opposes a general ban of certain subjects in the elections, but believes it pointless to settle upon specific themes two years in advance. In the course of the debate, the Federal Government increasingly advocates a solution to the debate on immigration and asylum before the next parliamentary elections. According to the chairman of the CDU"s Commission on Migration, Peter Müller, the majority of the CDU"s presidency favors an agreement on the foreigners policy in accordance with all political parties. Müller thinks an immigration law should regulate all sorts of immigration. In any case, the integration potential of the German society should not be stretched. The CDU"s Independent Commission on Migration will present its results in mid-year 2001 instead at the end of 2000. The Greens favor a model distinguishing between asylum seekers, political and humanitarian refugees, and labor migrants. They advocate flexible quotas, which should be fixed every 1-2 years. However, the admission of asylum seekers and refugees should remain untouched by these quotas. The CSU favor a variable quota system depending on the situation in Germany. However, the immigration of "specialists" should not be added to the number of asylum seekers and ethnic German immigrants (Spätaussiedler); the CSU"s motto is: the less asylum seekers, the more other foreigners. Merz"s statement, " the essential thing is that the foreigners living in Germany are willing to follow the German éLeitkultur" (guiding culture)" triggers a broad debate throughout all political parties on the term "Leitkultur". Federal Commissioner for Foreigner"s Issues, Marieluise Beck (The Greens), thinks the term is a hollow word, which insufficiently describes requirements for integration. According to her, the furtherance of integration doesn"t need a guiding culture but guidelines such as the recognition of the German Constitution and knowledge of the German language. The deputy chairman of the Independent Commission on Migration, Hans-Jochen Vogel (SPD) as well believes such requirements to be indisputable, however, they should not be described by the term "Leitkultur", "which suggests a sort of national supremacy".
Spiegel online 10.10.00// FR 11.10.00// Welt 12.10.00// SZ 13.10.00// FAZ 17.10.00// FAZ 18.10.00// Spiegel online 18.10.00// SZ 24.10.00// FAZ 28.10.00// Pressemitteilung BMI 30.10.00// SZ 30.10.00// FR 31.10.00// NZ 31.10.00// Spiegel online 31.10.00

Ban of the NPD

Most of the Interior Ministers of the Bund and Länder vote for a ban of the NPD party, only Hessen and Saarland abstain. According to the Interior Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, Fritz Behrens (SPD), the Interior Ministers are aware that the NPD"s ban is only part of the mosaic in combatting right-wing radicalism. The employers in the civil service on the national, regional and local level as well as the labor unions ÖTV and DAG call for action against xenophobia and antisemitism. The Federal Boarder Guard"s hotline which registers clues on right-wing radicals" activities, is called 600 times within the first month. 60% of the calls are of relevance to the police.
BMI Press Announcement 25.10.00 // Spiegel online 26.10.00

Green Card

2,140 foreign IT-specialists were employed by German companies until September 29, 2000. Until October 4, 2000, the Federal Institute for Labor (BA) received 11,168 foreign applications. In contrast, 751 vacancies were registered at the BA. Further vacancies can be found with the 30 agencies in the internet. The Zentralstelle für Arbeitsvermittlung (ZAV) has registered 30,673 applications. The Federal Government believes that all of the 100,000 Green Cards will be distributed. However, it encourages businesses to increasingly use this possibility. Green Cards were issued primarily in Bavaria (592) and Baden-Württemberg (439) in contrast to Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (2) and Sachsen-Anhalt (0). The majority of Green Cards was granted to applicants from India (365), Russia, Belarus, the Ukraine, and the Baltic States (348), and Romania (212).
BMI Press Announcement 6.10.00

Federal Cabinet passes administrative regulations on the citizenship law

The Federal Cabinet passes the "General Administrative Regulations on the Citizenship Law" which were proposed by the Federal Minister of the Interior, Otto Schily (SPD). The regulations guarantee a standardized naturalization procedure in all Länder. Government spokesman, Uwe-Carsten Heye appeals to the Länder to reduce the 500,- DM fee if several children under the age of ten belonging to one family are being naturalized.
BMI Press Announcement 18.10.00 // FR 19.10.00

Labor ban for asylum seekers lifted after one-year waiting period

According to a decree, which will come into effect as of January 1, 2001 at the latest, asylum seekers in the future will be allowed to take up work after a one-year waiting period. The new regulation affects approximately 75,000 persons.
taz 17.10.00

Federal Cabinet passes Lower Saxony"s initiative on joint asylum procedure for refugee families

Following the initiative of Lower Saxony and Hessen, the Bundesrat introduces the "Decree on Changing the Asylum Procedure Law" to the Bundestag. The decree is designed to reduce the misuse of asylum and the processing time of asylum procedures by creating a joint asylum procedure for all members of a refugee family; thus, children"s applications for asylum would automatically be included in their parents" asylum procedures. In addition, "close relatives" of a family member who was granted protection against deportation according to the Geneva Convention for Refugees (GFK), should receive a "Family Protection against Deportation". The UNHCR welcomes that the law quickly settles whether a family with under-aged children is in need of protection. Besides, the residence status of family members of asylum seekers granted protection according to the GFK is improved. On the other hand, the UNHCR criticizes that, according to the decree, applications from children under the age of 16 may be rejected as unfounded if the guardian"s application was unchallengeably rejected. The implication that children have no own grounds for asylum would endanger the thorough review of their applications.
FR 23.8.00 // taz 8.9.00 // UNHCR Press Announcement 19.10.00 // BMI Press Announcement 20.10.00

Baden-Württemberg passes initiative for a "Law Furthering the Integration of Foreigners Entitled to Permanent Residence"

Baden-Württemberg passes an initiative for a "Law Furthering the Integration of Foreigners Entitled to Permanent Residence". According to the initiative, foreigners who have legally entered Germany and who can acquire a permanent residence status should, in the future, take part in an integration program immediately after their arrival. The program should comprise 720 mandatory hours in which spoken and written German as well as the German law"s basics should be taught. In addition, the first social and occupational orientation of the foreigners should take place. If they refuse to participate, sanctions are intended: Unlimited residence permits will not be granted, fines or cuts in official aid programs are possible. Persons entitled to political asylum as well contingent refugees must attend the integration program, while foreigners participating in the German school system and asylum seekers are exempt. In contrast to the sanctions also a system of incentives is planned: in case of special integration achievements such as voluntary work or mastery of the German language an unlimited residence permit may be granted after 4 years already, instead of 5 years. Work permits as well could be issued earlier than usual.
Baden-Württemberg Press Announcement 10.10.00 // taz 11.10.00

Illegal immigration

According to the Parliamentarian State Secretary in the Ministry of the Interior, Cornelie Sonntag-Wolgast (SPD), approximately half a million persons are smuggled into the EU each year. In this context, Sonntag-Wolgast calls for a further harmonization of EU laws regulating the punishment of illegal immigrants and smugglers. According to the Koblenz administration of the border guard, the number of illegal immigrants which were caught at the borders in this year"s first six months has decreased by 17.9% to 15,217 persons compared to January - June 1999. At the same time the number of smugglers caught has reduced by 22.9% to 1,373 persons.
FAZ 19.10.00

Federal Minister Bergmann introduces Sixth Family Report

For the first time, the Federal Government"s Family Report deals with the situation of families of foreign origin. On the occasion of presenting the Sixth Family Report, "Families of Foreign Origin in Gerrmany: Achievements - Burdens - Challenges", the Federal Minister for Families, Senior Citizens, Women, and Youth, Christine Bergmann (SPD) gives an overview of the Federal Government"s position and perspectives in family policies. The independent experts" commission"s analysis includes foreign, as well as naturalized and ethnic German immigrant (Spätaussiedler) families. According to the report, there were 7.34 million foreign citizens living in Germany in 1999; at the end of the 1990s, every eighth child born in Germany had parents of foreign citizenship. The report especially focusses on immigration experiences and reasons, cultural origin, social integration, and membership of a minority.
BMFSFJ Press Announcement 18.10.00 // Bundesregierung Press Announcement 20.10.00

Aussiedler statistics

8,626 ethnic German immigrants (Spätaussiedler) were registered in Germany in October 2000. In October of last year, 12,038 persons were registered. As in the previous years, approximately 100,000 persons will have moved to Germany in 2000.
BMI Press Announcement 31.10.00

Asylum statistics

7,684 persons applied for political asylum in Germany in October 2000. This is an increase of 518 persons (7.2%) compared to the last month. Compared to October 1999, the number of asylum seekers has increased by 179 persons (2.4%). 697 persons (10.4%) were granted protection against deportation according to the Geneva Convention for Refugees. Main countries of origin in October were Iraq (1,174 persons), Turkey (958 persons) and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (911 persons).
BMI Press Announcement 8.11.00

October 2000

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