efms Migration Report
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Interior Minister Schily presents blueprint for new immigration law
On 6th August 2001, Federal Interior Minister Otto Schily (SPD) presented his "Draft for a Law Channelling and Limiting Immigration, Regulating Residency and Integration of EU-Citizens and Foreigners (Immigration Law)". The draft sets out to integrate proposals and recommendations presented by the Süssmuth-Commission and various political parties and interest groups. One of the aims of the proposals is to replace the large number of residence status currently in place by only
two legal status (temporary and permanent), according to the reasons underlying residence: education, employment, family reunion, humanitarian reasons. The Federal Office for the Recognition of Foreign Refugees is to be transformed into a Federal Office for Migration and Integration, with new responsibilities for, among other things, co-ordinating labour migration, processing applications and developing a federal programme for integration. The new Federal Office is also to comprise an independent research body and an advisory board of experts, responsible for determining demand for migration inflows and integration measures. According
to Schily's blueprint, there will be two channels for foreign nationals seeking employment in Germany: a "regular procedure" depending on economic demand, and a "selection procedure" based on a system of credits, with the "regular procedure" being defined as the rule. According to this procedure, job vacancies can be filled with non-EU applicants if domestic labour is not available. Applicants are then granted a combined work and residence permit, normally limited to a period of five years. Instead of imposing fixed quotas, inflows are to be regulated according to current economic needs. The "selection procedure", on the other hand, is,
at least for the time being, to be limited to a small number of applicants, chosen according to a credit system including age, German language skills and other factors. The latter group will be entitled to a permanent residence permit, independent of individual employment contracts. In addition, the draft allows for inflows of highly qualified specialists, who can also be granted a permanent residence status and who are to be excluded from restrictions concerning family migration (with children up to the age of 18 being entitled to join their parents in Germany), and from obligations to attend integration courses. Foreign graduates of German universities
can also be granted work permits, depending on economic demand. Finally, residence entitlements are also to include self-employed businesspeople "promising to have positive effects on the economy and employment". Planned regulations for family migration allow entries of foreign children up to the age of 18 if they enter the country together with their parents. However, if children enter the country without their parents, the age limit is to be lowered to 12 years. Foreign nationals joining their families in Germany are to be granted equal access to the German labour market. Foreign nationals seeking residence for humanitarian reasons are
to be divided into two groups: persons unable or, secondly, unwilling to return to their home countries. The former group is to be granted a temporary residence permit, whereas expulsion rules are to be tightened for the second group. In cases of particular hardship, especially for humanitarian reasons, Schily is willing to grant a permanent residence status provided that international corporate bodies, e.g. churches, cover ensuing expenses. In order to improve integration, the draft calls for legally binding integration programmes (language courses, introduction to the German political and legal system, German culture and history). Participation
in these courses would be obligatory for foreign nationals who lack adequate German language skills and whose residency is limited to less than six years. A permanent residency is only to be granted if applicants have been able to improve their language skills and to master the contents taught in the integration courses; integration procedures would then be shortened from 8 to 7 years. Conversely, a refusal to take part in the courses will affect decisions on extended residency. As for asylum applicants, residency is first to be limited to three years for persons entitled to political asylum or the so-called "kleines Asyl" (protection against deportation).
Before a permanent residency is granted after these three years, asylum applications are to be reviewed once more on the basis of reports by the Foreign Office on the current situation in applicants' home countries. Applicants will no longer be recognised as entitled to asylum on the basis of reasons they have "produced themselves", e.g. by joining political organisation during their stay in Germany. Officials responsible for reviewing asylum applications will in future be subject to directives. The office of the Federal Government Commissioner for Asylum Matters is to be abolished. Schily's proposals had initially met with widespread approval,
but in the meantime there has been increasing criticism both by political parties and representatives of churches, charities and refugee organisations. The SPD's Green coalition partner has called for improvements regarding the protection of refugees and the age limit for children in family reunions, emphasising that the Greens reject any further concessions on their part. CDU and CSU, the main opposition parties, who initially couldn't agree on a common strategy in migration policy, have now decided to reject the draft "in its present form", criticising that it falls short of its goal to "channel and limit immigration". The parties have also demanded
far-reaching changes in the draft, particularly concerning labour migration.
Press Statement BMI 3.8.01 // FAZ 4.8.01 // SZ 4.8.01 // FR 4.8.01 // FR 8.8.01 // FR 9.8.01 // SZ 14.8.01 // SZ 17.8.01 // FR 23.8.01 // FAZ 30.8.01 // Welt 31.8.01
To view the draft on the internet: http://www.bmi.bund.de
August 2001 has witnessed a further increase in asylum applicants, with 9,138 persons submitting applications, an increase of 12.9% over the previous month; compared to the same month of the previous years, applications have increased by 21.7%. Iraq, Turkey and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia continue to be the main source countries. The impact of the current crisis in Macedonia is now tangible in asylum statistics. Nationals of Macedonia, with 188 applicants, now form the largest group of applicants. 7.4% of all applications reviewed
in August have been recognised as entitled to asylum (818 persons). This unusually high number is due to applications of 564 Afghan nationals alone, whose cases had been adjourned and now readmitted. 18.5% (2,045 persons) have received protection against deportation according to § 51 Par. 1 Foreigners Act, among them 682 Afghans. 52.1% of applications have been rejected.
Press Statement BAFl 5.9.01
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