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efms Migration Report

January 1997

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New regulations: seasonal work, minimum wages, foreign retirement benefits

As of January 1, 1997 new regulations will affect alien workers. Employment of foreign seasonal workers will be allowed only for six months; this period will be reduced to five months beginning on January 1, 1998. On the basis of generally binding wage agreements, workers in the construction sector must receive a minimum wage of 17 DM in the old Länder and 15.64 DM in the new Länder. This regulation applies also to construction workers contracted by foreign companies and sent to German construction sites. The years of employment and payments made by Aussiedler (ethnic Germans from Eastern Europe) towards retirement in their countries of origin will, in the future, be calculated according to the Act on Foreign Retirement Benefits in determining their benefits in Germany.
Presse- und Informationsamt der Bundesregierung 20.12.1996

Illegal refugees threatened by cold

During the wave of extremely cold weather illegal immigrants suffering from frostbite, who had apparently been abandoned by immigrant smugglers, are picked up on several occasions in the vicinity of the German eastern borders. A young woman from Sri Lanka who had frozen to death was found close to the Czech border.
SZ 2.1.97 // taz 2.1.97 // taz 3.1.97 // Spiegel 6.1.97 // NN 11.1.97

Increased border security to combat immigrant smugglers

Federal Interior Minister Manfred Kanther announces that in order to more effectively combat immigrant smuggler gangs, 1,500 border police are to be sent to the borders with Poland and the Czech Republic in addition to the 4,700 officers already engaged there. The Interior Ministry estimates that in 1996 some 7,000 persons illegally entered Germany, mainly over the eastern borders, with the help of professional smugglers. In comparison to 1995 the number of such cases rose by 25%.
SZ 3.1.97 // FR 3.1.97

Visas for foreign children

On January 15, 1997 an order initiated by Interior Minister Kanther comes into force which requires visas for children under 16 years of age from Turkey, Yugoslavia, Marocco and Tunesia. Kanther justificates the order with the greater numbers of unaccompanied children entering Germany (554 in 1995, 2,068 in 1996). In many cases the children entered illegaly. Furthermore, the children of aliens from the above-mentioned countries currently residing in Germany will be required to have a residence permit. The residence permission requires lawful residence in Germany and a residence permit of at least one parent. The Bundesrat has to approve the new regulations within the next three months. Turkish communities, opposition parties, aliens advisory boards (Ausländerbeiräte) and welfare organizations have protested against the new regulations, charging that the new visa requirements will discourage children"s visits to their parents in Germany and make immigration of dependent family members more difficult. The Federal Commissioner for Foreigners, Cornelia Schmalz-Jacobsen expresses reservations about the new requirement of residence permits from the point of view of integration policies. There is also resistance to the new regulation from within the CDU. The Federal Interior Ministry declares on January 24, 1997 that the new residence regulations will not be enforced until December 31, 1997.
SZ 13.1.97 // SZ 14.1.97 // taz 11.1. 97 // taz 16.1. 97 // Spiegel 20.1.97 // FAZ 18.1.97 // SZ 25.1.97

CSU wants fewer new foreigners on the labor market

The head of the CSU parliamentary group in the Bundestag, Michael Glos considers a limitation on the immigration of foreigners to be inevitable. In view of the high unemployment figures for Germans, Glos finds it unacceptable that Germany continues to admit foreigners and grants over one million work permits per year to foreigners. In order to diminish the attractions of immigrating to Germany, Glos suggests introducing a five-year waiting period for non EU foreigners during which they are not allowed to work. The Federal Institute of Labor accuses politicians of using misleading numbers in the discussion of the impact of aliens on the job market. The figure quoted for work permits granted to aliens, for instance, is purely a "case" statistic and does not represent the number of aliens actually receiving job permits per year. An asylum seeker, for example, receives work permits four times a year, each of which are limited to three months.
FR 30.12.1996 // SZ 2.1.97 // SZ 9.1.97 // SZ 11.1.97

German asylum law criticized for contradicting UN Convention on Children

Representatives of the National Coalition (NC), a union of over 90 German organizations which monitor the application of UN conventions in political practice, accuses the federal government of contravening UN conventions on the rights of children with the government"s policies on unaccompanied refugee children. The NC demands that the government provide suitable accommodations and care for the children. Furthermore, the NC calls for prohibiting detention of children and exempting them from the airport and third safe-country regulations. Juveniles between the ages of 16 and 18 should not be treated like adults in the asylum procedure. Further criticism is directed at the new visa and residence requirements for children from countries in which workers for Germany used to be recruited.
FR 28.1.97 // taz 28.1.97

Deportation of Russian deserters

According to information from the federal government, 63 deserters from the Soviet forces formerly stationed in Germany were recognized as entitled to asylum between 1989 and 1996. The Federal Office for the Recognition of Foreign Refugees, according to official figures, ruled on 1,244 asylum petitions submitted by deserters from the Russian federation. Of these, 24 asylum seekers were granted exemption from expulsion, and 1,025 petitions were rejected. SPD, Green Party and FDP politicians now seek to prevent the expulsion of some 600 rejected asylum seekers who may face punishment as harsh as the death penalty in Russia, especially in cases where asylum seekers supplied western intelligence agencies with information.
SZ 8.1.97 // dpa 11.1.97 // dpa 12.1.97 // FR 21.1.97

Collaboration between Polish and Sachsen police

Representatives of the interior ministries of Sachsen and Poland signed a supplementary clause to their 1995 agreement. In order to combat crime at their mutual border, a regular exchange of information is planned.
SZ 31.1.97

Asylum statistics

The number of asylum petitions in January 1997 amounted to 10,877; these are 2,741 petitions more than in December 1996 and 1,173 fewer than in January 1996. 2,289 asylum seekers came from Turkey, 1,424 from Irak and 1,271 from the Federal Republik of Yugoslavia. Decisions were reached on 17,319 cases; of which 1,081 were granted asylum and 879 obtained protection from deportation. 8,917 asylum petitions were rejected.
SZ 12.2.97

January 1997

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