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efms Migration Report

September 2000

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Independent Commission on Migration takes up its work

The Independent Commission on Migration met for the first time on September 12, 2000. It has been commissioned by the Federal Minister of the Interior, Otto Schily (SPD), to develop specific recommendations for future immigration policy. In particular, it has been asked to examine the statutory measures that may be needed in order to manage or restrict immigration and how future immigration policy should be categorized, both in the planned overall European immigration concept, and in the planned European asylum system. Furthermore, how can immigration and integration be coordinated; what should be seen as the most sensible concept of an integration policy? The task of the Commission is to analyse the necessary administrative and organizational measures necessary for reaching this target. In particular, it should be made clear whether or not the Federal Office for the Recognition of Foreign Refugees is to be given a broader range of tasks, and within what institutional framework and according to what criteria a need for immigration can be determined. The immigration policies and laws of other states should be studied for their contributions to this debate. The Federal Ministry of the Interior also wishes to reduce the duration of asylum proceedings and to decide whether the immigration regulations for ethnic German immigrants should be retained, ended or modified. The Commission, which will be divided into three work groups (asylum and refugees; need for immigration; integration), will conclude by announcing whether it considers a complete review of immigration law necessary for the implementation of its recommendations, or whether targeted amendments to the present law appear sufficient. Federal Chancellor Gerhard Schröder (SPD) is in favor of regulating immigration to Germany beyond party lines. The deputy CDU/CSU parliamentary coalition head, Wolfgang Bosbach, presumes that it will not be possible to reach a consensus as long as the basic right to asylum remains untouched.
BMI Press Announcement 12.9.00 // BMI Bayern Press Announcement 12.9.00 // Welt 14.9.00 // FAZ 26.9.00

Right-wing radicalism and xenophobia

The continuing xenophobic acts of violence are viewed with growing concern abroad. In a survey undertaken by the German Association of Chambers of Commerce among Chambers of Trade abroad, delegates and representatives of industry in more than 70 countries, revealed that foreigners wishing to work or study in Germany were increasingly asking about their safety in Germany, in particular if they would be identifiable as foreigners because of their skin color. At home, the debate about causes and reactions is continuing. The Ministry of the Interior has submitted a "Checklist for a possible petition to determine whether the NPD party should be considered not constitutional before the Federal Constitutional Court". The Federal Parliament, the Bundesrat and the Federal Government intend to make a joint petition should a successful prohibition appear likely. Under the protection of Federal President Johannes Rau, the "Show your face" initiative is intended to bring together people who would like to get organized against xenophobia. Under the umbrella of the "Alliance for Democracy and Tolerance - against Extremism and Violence", which was established in May, the Federal Ministry of the Interior, in cooperation with the Dresdner Bank and the Aufbau-Verlag, launched a national "Victor Klemperer Youth Competition" to encourage young people to study in depth the topics of xenophobia, intolerance, the understanding of democracy and the safeguarding of human rights. Citizens can report right-wing extremist threats via a hotline which has been specially set up (01805 / 234566).
BMI Press Announcement 1.9.00 // Spiegel online 2.9.00 // Spiegel online 3.9.00 // Spiegel online 6.9.00 // FAZ 15.9.00 // Welt 23.9.00 // BMI Press Announcement 25.9.00// Spiegel online 27.9.00

EU: Asylum law

At the EU Council of Ministers of the Interior and of Justice in Brussels, EU Commissioner Antonio Vitorino presents the Commission"s proposal for a regulation to standardize the minimum requirements for asylum procedures. The proposed regulation is to replace the previous international agreements and to ensure a uniform, legally actionable minimum level of protection in Europe. Asylum-seekers are to be given the right to speak in person to the relevant authority, and are guaranteed the right to a lawyer and an interpreter. Asylum applications are to be dealt with either by a court or an administrative body. After an initial decision has been taken on an asylum application, only one more body may be approached. A guardian is to be appointed for children and juveniles, both to support them and to represent them before the authorities. The procedure in the Länder, however, remains unchanged. The Council of Ministers must decide on the Commission"s proposal for a directive. The CDU/CSU have criticized the proposal, saying that the provisions contained in the draft concerning safe third countries differ from those in German law.
FAZ 21.9.00 // SZ 22.9.00 // Welt 27.9.00 // FR 28.9.00 // BMI Press Announcement 28.9.00

EU: Reunification of family members

The European Parliament has approved the EU Commission"s proposal to revise the right to reunification of family members. Accordingly, anyone who had a residence permit for one year (currently eight years in Germany) may file an application for reunification of family members. The maximum age of children entitled to immigrate is to be increased to 18. Beyond this, both children who are unable to care for themselves, e.g. because of a disability, and independent parents and grandparents with no family in their countries of origin, are to be permitted to follow. Family members moving into the EU are to be given their own residence status after four years, and after one year in special cases. The regulation applies if the receiving family has health insurance and sufficient living space and income. Recognized refugees are exempt from these conditions. National authorities can reject applications for reunification of family members for reasons of public order, internal security or public health. A final decision on the draft, which must be accepted by the EU Ministers of the Interior, is to be taken in the early summer of 2001. The CDU/CSU and the EVP fear that up to 500,000 third country nationals will move to Germany annually as a result of this arrangement.
dpa 6.9.00 // taz 21.9.00 // Welt 27.9.00

EU: Refugee fund

At the Council meeting in Brussels, the EU Ministers of the Interior and of Justice agreed to establish a refugee fund of Euroß216 million to run for five years. The money is to be distributed according to the number of refugees who have entered a country in the past three years, and is to be used for the reception, accommodation, integration and voluntary return of asylum-seekers, refugees and exiled persons. Germany is to receive roughly 30% of the money.
BMI Press Announcement 28.9.00 // SZ 29.9.00

Beck calls for improving the quality of individual decisions at the Federal Office for the Recognition of Foreign Refugees

On the occasion of her first visit to Albert Schmid, the President of the Federal Office for the Recognition of Foreign Refugees (BAFl), the Federal Government"s Commissioner for Foreigners" Issues Marieluise Beck, pointed out that "the quality of individual decisions" must be improved. In particular, hearings related to persons persecuted on grounds of gender and to persons suffering from traumas must be checked. Schmid confirmed his announcement to attend to these problems more intensely.
NN 21.9.00

Aussiedler statistics

8,775 Aussiedler were registered in Germany in September 2000. In September of the previous year, 9,292 persons were registered. Comparing monthly figures of the previous year, the number of new applications is falling continuously. The number has almost halved as against September 1998.
BMI Press Announcement 5.10.00

Asylum statistics

7,166 persons applied for asylum in Germany in September 2000. This is a decrease of 4.5% (341 persons) compared to the previous month. The number of asylum applications fell by 15.0% (1,263 persons) in comparison to September 1999. Protection against deportation according to the Geneva Convention for Refugees was granted to 601 persons (8.5%). The number of asylum seekers is likely to drop this year from 100,000 to 80,000 persons.
NZ 21.9.00// BMI Press Announcement 6.10.00

September 2000

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