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efms Migration Report

January 2001

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Time is running out for new immigration law

Chancellor Schröder (SPD) and Minister of the Interior Schily (SPD) have contradicted statements made by Dieter Wiefelspütz (SPD) and Cem Özdemir (The Greens), according to which there is not sufficient time left to pass a comprehensive immigration law reform during the current parliamentary session. According to the official government standpoint, it is still possible to accomplish a comprehensive reform before the next parliamentary elections in 2002. Schily spokesman Mr. Lingenthal has emphasised that only few matters remain to be resolved, such as the question whether the reform should be passed as one comprehensive law or in several stages, i.e. in different laws and government decrees. The government is pinning their hopes on the expert commission on immigration set up by Mr. Schily (SPD) and chaired by Rita Süßmuth (CDU), which is expected to present its results before the summer recess of Parliament. According to Mrs. Süßmuth, the immigration commission aims at presenting several expert reports on issues such as demographic development, integration models and experiences of other countries with legalisation programmes until March. Opposition parties have demanded that the government stick to their timetable. CDU spokesman Marschewki has made it clear that his party would consider any delay in the legislation as a "scandal" and a "failure" of the Government. In the view of Mr. Westerwelle, Secretary General of the FDP, it is essential to pass the immigration reform before the next general election in order to keep the issue out of the election campaign.
FR 15.1.01 // Welt am Sonntag 16.1.01 // FAZ 29.1.01 // NN 29.1.01 // FR 30.1.01 // Welt 30.1.01 // FAZ 30.1.01

BAFl ready to adopt new role as "Office for Migration"

The Federal Office for the Recognition of Foreign Refugees (BAFl) in Nuremberg is expected to be expanded into a "Federal Office for Refugees and Migration". Mr. Schily (SPD), the Federal Minister of the Interior, has suggested expanding the BAFl into an "office for migration" with additional responsibilities. Albert Schmid, President of the Federal Office, expects the office to take over additional responsibilities following the report of the Federal Migration Commission in summer and the planned reform of immigration law. In his view, the reform would make better use of the "great potential" of BAFl, allowing it to adopt additional responsibilities in administering migration law and to function as a "clearing house" for migration and integration issues. According to Mr. Schmid, this enhanced role would entail institutionalising a co-operation with an advisory panel of migration experts, whom he envisions to play a major role similar to that of the so-called "Fünf Wirtschafts-Weisen", a panel of five economic experts advising the Federal Government on economic policy.
NN 20.1.01 // NZ 20.1.01 // SZ 25.1.01 // NN 27.1.01 // NZ 27.1.01

Federal Constitutional Court criticises Federal Government Commissioner for Asylum Matters

The Federal Constitutional Court has criticised the work of Klaus Blumentritt (Independent), the Federal Commissioner for Asylum Matters, who has been mandated by the Federal Ministry of the Interior to review decisions passed by the Federal Office for the Recognition of Foreign Refugees (BAFl). The court"s criticism focuses on the case of a Turkish couple of Kurdish origin, in which the Federal Commissioner, after allowing one year to elapse, raised objections against the decision to grant the couple political asylum. The Constitutional Court criticises the practice whereby only positive decisions are reviewed, whereas cases in which political asylum has been refused are not put under close scrutiny. According to the Court, this approach is in contradiction to regulations that mandate the Federal Commissioner to review all cases of political asylum, no matter whether positive or negative decisions have been reached. Last summer, Mr. Blumentritt had already been instructed by the Minister of the Interior to look more closely into cases where asylum applications have been rejected. Following these instructions, Mr. Blumenthal has investigated 16 cases including asylum applications by women, children and victims of torture. He has expressed the need for closer co-operation with the BAFl in order to avoid similar objections in future.
FR 6.1.01 // NN 6.1.01 // FAZ 6.1.01 // taz 9.1.01 // FR 25.1.01

Schily favours "Green Cards" without time limit for experts from abroad

Mr. Schily (SPD), Federal Minister of the Interior, favours the expansion of existing programmes for migration inflows of experts from non-EU countries. In his opinion, the "Green Card" programme should no longer be restricted to IT specialists, and should also allow foreign experts to bring their families to Germany for an unlimited period of time. In addition, foreign students graduating from German universities should also be allowed to stay on and work in Germany. In Mr. Schily"s view, the Federal Office for the Recognition of Foreign Refugees (BAFl) in Nuremberg, which is to be expanded into an "Office for Migration", would be ideally suited to review applications by specialists from abroad who wish to take up gainful employment in Germany.
SZ 25.1.01 // Welt 25.1.01

Catering industry demands "Green Card"

Erich Kaub, President of the Federal Commercial Tourism Association and the German Hotel and Restaurant Association, has called for additional employment of foreign labour in the tourism and restaurant industry. Mr. Kaub demands the introduction of additional "Green Cards for the catering industry", since the current demand of 80,000 employees cannot be met by the German labour market. Furthermore, he also demands that asylum applicants be permitted to take up employment straight away, i.e. without the mandatory one-year waiting period.
FAZ 16.1.01

Federal Constitutional Court limits detention for the purpose of deportation

The Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe has sustained an objection filed by a Kurdish man in Lower Saxony. Referring to the principle of the Appropriateness of the Means, the court has ruled that the detention of the man has to be ended if there is no realistic possibility of deporting him within the following three months, provided he cannot be held responsible for the delay. The Constitutional Court has instructed courts to take into consideration both the case for detention and the basic rights of the persons concerned.
FR 5.1.01 // taz 5.1.01

Federal Administrative Court restricts deportation to Northern Iraq

The Federal Administrative Court in Berlin has ruled that asylum applicants from Northern Iraq, whose applications for political asylum have been rejected on the grounds that they have a possibility to migrate to safe areas within Iraq, are to be protected against deportation if they are not in possession of the necessary Iraqui documents for a safe journey to these areas. Following the ruling, German authorities are considering ways of furnishing these persons with German documents for a transit journey via Turkey.
Federal Administrative Court: Press Announcement 16.1.01 // SZ 17.1.01 // FAZ 17.1.01

Asylum Statistics

The number of applications for political asylum has risen to 7,583 in January, an increase of 27.2% over the previous month, and of 14.6% over January 2000. The recognition rate was 3.5%, which is above last year"s average. 12% of the applicants are protected against deportation according to Art. 51 Par. 1 Foreigners Act. Over the last months, the main source countries of applicants have been Iraq, Turkey and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
BMI Press Announcement 6.2.01

January 2001

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