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efms Migration Report

September 2007

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EU: Federal Government discards new Blue Card initiative

At the conference on the EU immigration policy held in Lisbon on 13 September 2007, EU Commissioner Franco Frattini has presented his new Blue Card initiative, which met with disapproval among some Member States, including Germany. Meant as an allusion to the American "Green Card", Frattini said he wanted to facilitate the inflow of qualified third-country nationals to the EU with this initiative. In his speech Frattini said that with the introduction of the Blue Card he wanted to turn around the current trend according to which highly skilled workers would preferably go to the US while unqualified workers would come to Europe. Representatives of the coalition forming the German Government signalled clear disapproval of the initiative: Federal Minister of Labour, Franz Müntefering (SPD) said it would not be a matter of the EU Commission but rather of the Member States themselves to decide on immigration. In Lisbon, Frattini made clear, however, that the Blue Card initiative only wanted to offer a general platform on the basis of which the Member States could decide themselves also in future about the number of persons seeking work that are admitted. Also Federal Minister of Economics, Michael Glos (CSU) discarded the plans - Germany could not simply recruit a huge number of workers just because they would be needed at the very moment; in Germany, there would still be a large pool of work force that remained unused. Brigitte Pothmer, a labour market expert of the Green party, reproached the Government for playing immigration off against the qualification of national workers without being able to offer in neither of the two areas a convincing strategy, which would lead to Germany shaking off itself, said Pothmer. Also experts from the economy criticised the Government"s position: It would not be true that the Blue Card simply opened unlimited ways for immigrants. It rather offered politics exactly the right tool needed to control immigration also in terms of quantity, said Thomas Straubhaar of the Hamburg World Economic Institute (HWWI). Frattini announced the presentation of concrete legislative proposals on the Blue Card initiative for the 23rd of October.
FAZ 13.09.07 // SZ 14.09.07 // FR 15.09.07 // Die Welt 15.09.07 // FAZ 15.09.07 // Die Zeit 20.09.07 // Das Parlament 24.09.07 // SZ 27.09.07

UN Special Rapporteur demands hunger to be recognised as a ground for fleeing countries

In a report, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Jean Ziegler, has asked the UN Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly to grant at least temporary refugee protection to persons who are forced to flee their countries due to suffering from hunger. He argued that governments would take on their responsibility of eradicating hunger worldwide only if they also recognised their obligations towards the persons affected. For that purpose it would be necessary to prepare a new and legally binding convention on the protection of "hunger refugees" with the participation of the UN Member States, said Ziegler. At the moment, the protection of hunger refugees is not covered by the UN High Commissioner"s (UNHCR) mandate. Those suffering from hunger, however, needed to be given all support available, said a UNHCR spokesman.
NZZ 22.09.07

Prevented terror attacks adds momentum to the debate on new counter-terrorism measures

Following the prevention of an attack on the US airbase in Ramstein, which was planned by Islamists, politics shows more receptivity to take new measures in combating terrorism. As a consequence, the Federal Minister of Justice, Brigitte Zypries (SPD), now wants to overcome penal problems in the prosecution of terrorists by introducing two new acts: She plans, for instance, to extend the case of "preparation of a criminal offence" to acts that so far had no judicial consequences such as the stay in a terrorist training camp. Moreover, the use of the internet for the preparation of attacks will be subjected to legal prosecution. As regards the legalisation of online searches, which Federal Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble (CDU) has been demanding for quite a while as a preventive approach to fighting terrorism, the SPD still does not seem to give up its opposing position despite the current events. The head of the SPD party in the Bundestag, Peter Struck, had already declared before, that his party would not be opposed to online searches in principle; however, it first wanted to await the outcomes of legal suits against the access to computers contained in the Act governing the activities of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution in the federal state of North Rhine Westphalia, which would be pending before the Federal Constitutional Court. The spokesman of the Federal Interior Ministry, Stefan Kaller, warned that any delay in admitting online searches as a tool of investigation needed to be considered to produce potential risks. The general misunderstanding about the fact that online searches were not intended as a common instrument of investigation but only for the surveillance of the so-called 10 "top potential attackers", would not constitute an obstacle in this case.
Die Welt 01.09.07 // Der Focus 10.09.07 // NZZ 12.09.07 // FAZ 12.09.07 // FAZ 13.09.07 // FAZ 16.09.07 // FAZ 19.09.07

Economy supports young migrants

The German economy seems to have recognised the unused potentials of young talented migrants and hence many children of immigrants have become a target-of-choice group of educational support programmes of German foundations financed by companies and through private property. Support is given to children at different educational levels: For instance the Hertie and Bosch foundations, inter alia, support the school education of especially talented migrant children. The recently established corporate foundation "Studienkompass" currently supports 175 immigrant children in choosing university studies, and since last year, the Vodafone foundation allows 29 high-potential migrants to study at private universities. Bernhard Lorentz, managing director of the Vodafone foundation said that the programme was aimed at creating a new social leadership elite formed by underrepresented, underestimated talents. However, he added, support and fostering of migrant children could not only be the task of the economy but needed to be understood rather as a project of the society in its entirety. The interest in the programme would increase any way, and other foundations had already signalled to support the project, said Lorentz. On the occasion of the presentation of the project "Studienkompass", the secretary general of the Foundation of the German Economy, Hans Jürgen Brackmann, said that it would be unacceptable in both social and economic terms, that in Germany the chances of youths to obtain equal opportunities would be the worst in comparison with any other comparable country.
FR 05.09.07 // FAZ 18.09.07 // taz 25.09.07

Asylum: Citizen"s initiative closes deportation ways to Iraq

A joint initiative of socially committed organisations has managed to induce the last airline in Germany offering deportation flights to Iraq on behalf of the Federal Government to stop offering such services in future. The Bavarian Refugee Council and the initiative "Youths without frontiers", among others, threatened the airline Zargos Air by sending out protest postcards to Iraqi refugees throughout Europe and to protest against the deportations. The senior management of Zargos Air has announced to no longer transport Iraqis awaiting deportation, seemingly due to the fear of suffering an image loss among Iraqi nationals exiled in Europe. Tobias Klaus of the Bavarian Refugee Council was pleased about this achievement and considered it a great success that also small organisations could do something. Since no airline in Germany would now be available for deportations of refugees to Iraq, the Federal Police needed to charter its aircraft by their own. The number of Iraqis deported so far, however, is low. In the course of this year, only 12-15 persons have been repatriated by Zargos Air of which many were returned to Northern Iraq, a region with which Germany has entered into a so-called re-admission agreement.
taz 10.09.07

GAIN courts young scientists of German origin working in North America by offering them better research conditions

At this year"s conference of the German Academic International Network (GAIN) held from 21 - 23 September in San Fransisco, a high-ranking delegation composed of representatives from politics and the economy tried to make Germany more attractive as a work location to young scientists of German origin who are working abroad. Their core message can be summarized as follows: The opportunities for young scientists in Germany are currently better than ever during recent years, and there are many vacancies to be filled. It would be expected that up to ten thousand new research posts could be created by the year 2010. These posts would be financed through the excellence initiative of the Federal Government and through funds contributed by the so-called "university pact", said the president of the Conference of the Ministers of Education, Jürgen Zöllner. Further improvements could be observed in respect of the issue of the compulsory number of lessons professors in Germany had to teach, which is considered by many young scientists as too extensive compared to other countries such as the US. The president of the universities" dean conference (Hochschulrektorenkonferenz), Margret Wintermantel, commented this point by saying that the problems could be solved by an individual and flexible handling of concrete cases. Further improvements, for example in respect of the low proportion of women among German professors or their relatively low basic salary in general, are to enhance the career prospects in Germany. One of the young scientists said that five years ago the overall impression was that Germany had forgotten them - this time the situation has been quite different.
BZ 25.09.07 //

Bavaria: Local government of Upper Bavaria criticised for the closing of three asylum centres

The local government of Upper Bavaria has been criticised for its attitude in closing three accommodation centres for asylum seekers in Munich. Due to the decline in the number of asylum applicants it is planned to close the three centres by the end of year, which would require 300 persons to move to other places. The extremely short period of time between the notification of the persons affected and the removals, which would give some persons only four day"s time to organise the removals and for which no state support would be offered at all, were particularly criticised by the Green party and the refugee organisation "Karawane". According to "Karawane", it was planned moreover to allocate some families from the centres to be closed in a refugee accommodation centre which only some weeks ago was criticised by the Human Rights Commissioner of the Council of Europe for dilapidation. The municipal councillor, Siegfried Benker, said the government would act without respect nor concept.
SZ 13.09.07 // SZ 24.09.07

Hesse: Ministry of Education presents positive outcomes of early language training

The Ministry of Education of Hesse, Karin Wolff (CDU), considers a success the so-called preparatory courses for pre-school language training of children, which were introduced in 2002 throughout this federal state. According to Wolff, around 29,000 children from 90 nations participated over the past five years in these preparatory courses which are held from November until the end of school year with a total of 15 hours of lessons scheduled per week. Of these, 98 per cent were subsequently enrolled at school without any problems. The children participating in the first year"s preparatory course (2001/2002) had changed schools to go to higher education schools; as a consequence, the proportion of migrant children attending intermediary schools rose by 3.2 per cent and those going to grammar schools increased by 3.7 per cent. Among young Turks, the increase would be even more significant, according to Wolff. She emphasised, however, that also some of the German children showed language deficits and about 10 per cent of the pupils in the preparatory courses were Germans.
Press release of the Ministry of Education of Hesse of 12.09.07 // FR 13.09.07

Frankfurt/Main: Quarrels about the planned Mosque construction

The planned construction of a Mosque in the Frankfurt district of Hausen has triggered off quarrels between the Mosque community and a citizen"s initiative which tries to prevent the construction of the Mosque because of the fear their district could be Islamized. A representative of the citizen"s initiative, Horst Weißbarth, emphasised at a special meeting held on the disputed project that the protests would not be meant to question the religious freedom - however, the construction of a third Mosque, including all side effects, could disturb the district"s social equilibrium. There would be cause to fear the establishment of a Muslim ghetto and that the old-established population would draw back. At the end of the meeting, Ünal Kaymakci said that the district of Hausen needed to have a Mosque. It would make him all the more determined in his standpoint that the deeply rooted prejudices towards the religion and the lack of knowledge about the life of the Muslim community could only be reduced by building the Mosque. So far, the municipal authorities have signalled in principle to be in favour of the Mosque construction project: The municipal"s head of the integration department, Jean Diallo of the Green party, said that the city of Frankfurt needed to have nice Mosques to allow the Mosque associations to leave their backyard sites and to prevent the evolution of parallel societies. The black-green government coalition (formed by CDU/Greens) of the city of Frankfurt emphasised that the project would be an issue determined first of all by a building license.
FR 04.09.07 // FAZ 11.09.07 // FAZ 19.09.07 // FR 28.09.07

IAB survey: No current lack of engineers but likely in the medium-term, however

In a survey published on 4 September 2007, the Institute for Labour Market and Research (IAB in its German abbreviation) comes to the conclusion that currently there is no lack of engineers throughout Germany. Already for months, companies have been complaining about the shortage of particularly mechanical and electrical engineers. The IAB points to the fact, however, that with 24,147 unemployed engineers in the last month the labour market for engineers was not at all "sold out". Due to the increasing demand for highly-qualified staff because of the transformation towards an information and science society, a shortage of academics, however, would be more and more likely in the next decades. To encounter this trend, it would be first of all necessary to immediately launch an education offensive but also to achieve a targeted immigration of highly-skilled workers from abroad. Against this background, the Federal Cabinet has agreed on 19 September 2007 on a statutory regulation by which the access to the German labour market will be facilitated for mechanical, vehicle construction and electrical engineers from ten new Central and Eastern European EU Member States and for all foreigners, who have obtained their university degrees at German universities. According to the ordinance, these persons - from 1 November - would no longer be subject to the so-called preference clause according to which an employment may be given to a foreign applicant only if suitable German workers are not available.
Press release of BMAS 19.09.07 // Spiegel 03.09.07 // Press release of IAB 04.09.07 // FTD 05.09.07 // FAZ 20.09.07

Asylum statistics

In September 2007, a total of 1,771 persons have submitted a petition for political asylum in Germany. The figure constitutes a decrease of 7.7 per cent (-147 persons) compared to August 2007. Compared to September 2006, the number of asylum seekers has increased by 8.6 per cent (+140 persons). The main countries of origin in September were Iraq (696), Serbia (125), Turkey (107) followed by Iran (71) and the Russian Federation (70). In this month, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees decided on 2,712 asylum applications, of which 41 persons (1.5 per cent) were recognised as entitled to political asylum. Another 1,323 persons (48.8 per cent) were granted protection against deportation according to § 60, paragraph 1 of the Residence Act. The applications of 774 persons (28.6 per cent) were refused. The cases of a further 519 persons (19.1 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 10.09.07

September 2007

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