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efms Migration Report

March 2001

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EU: Calls for common European border police

At a meeting of EU interior and justice Ministers in Brussels, Mr. Schily, Germany's Federal Minister of the Interior, has supported the long-term goal of a common EU border police to protect the EU's exterior borders. Furthermore, EU ministers are discussing a common European policy against human trafficking. As yet, no consensus could be reached on the severity of sentences for human traffickers.
FAZ 16.3.01 // FR 16.3.01

German NGOs support EU-Commission proposals on asylum law

Germany's leading non-governmental organisations (NGO), among them Pro Asyl, Amnesty International, the relief organisations of the two large churches, the New Association of Judges and the Red Cross, have unanimously welcomed proposals by the EU Commission for harmonised European asylum procedures. Pro-Asyl secretary Burkardt has called on Germany's federal government to end its "blockade" against the EU proposals. The NGOs in particular endorsed the following proposals: introducing a multi-stage asylum procedure, which includes the possibility to appeal against decisions by administrative bodies, and abolishing general provisions on so-called "safe third countries".
FR 28.3.01 // taz 28.3.01

Federal Government Commission on immigration

Rita Süssmuth (CDU), chairwoman of the Federal Government Commission on Immigration, has given first hints as to the recommendations of the commission, which are to be presented in July. One of the assumptions is that Germany will need immigration after the year 2010 approximately, with some areas of the economy depending on migration inflows before that date. It has to be ensured that immigration does not endanger the employment opportunities of Germany's resident population, and additional efforts will be needed in order to re-integrate unemployed people into the labour market. As for integration, the emphasis here lies on programmes for both Germans and foreign nationals.
FR 12.3.01

German industry in favour of active immigration policy

A large number of representatives of German industry support Chancellor Schröder in his aim to open up and internationalise the German labour market: The Federal Association of German Industry (BDI) estimates the annual demand for foreign labour at 450,000 people; computer and telecommunications companies call for an active immigration policy that goes beyond the government's "Green Card" programme; Mr. Philipp, President of the Federal Association of Craftsmen calls for "regulated immigration to Germany" in view of increasing difficulties in finding new apprentices. Mr. Schily, Federal Minister of the Interior, has emphasised in a contribution to a business magazine that the recommendations currently being drawn up by the Immigration Commission chaired by Rita Süssmuth (CDU) will take Germany's economic interests into account. According to Hans-Jochen Vogel (SPD), vice-chairman of the Süssmuth Commission, German industry requires annual migration inflows of at least 50,000 persons in order to sustain Germany's current level of wealth. He added, however, that the commission's final report will not include fixed any immigration quotas for the coming years.
dpa 21.3.01 // SZ 22.3.01 // FR 23.3.01 // dpa 27.3.01 // dpa 28.3.01

The Greens demand return to old asylum law

Discussing the party's objectives on migration policy at their party conference in Stuttgart, the Greens have re-affirmed the principles on asylum and family migration laid out in Germany's Constitution. The Greens support proposals presented by the EU Commission calling for a liberalisation of family migration to the EU. Accordingly, the party is critical of the more "restrictive" views expressed by Mr. Schily, Germany's Federal Minister of the Interior. Another party conference vote, which calls for abolishing regulations on so-called "safe third countries", has met with widespread public criticism. In their conference vote, the Greens argue that "generally refusing asylum to people entering Germany via 'safe third countries' constitutes an arbitrary restriction of the right to political asylum." However, the Greens admit that they are unlikely to find the two-thirds parliamentary majority needed for re-establishing the constitution's asylum article in its original form, which had been in place until the amendment in 1993. The Greens' coalition partner, the SPD, was quick to announce that this proposal doesn't stand much of a chance. The Greens demand the SPD's support for "a first step" towards a new migration and integration policy during the current parliamentary session, based on the three-pillar concept presented by the Greens. In their view, the government has to act as soon as the government commission headed by Rita Süssmuth has presented its results.
FR 8.3.01 // dpa 11.3.01 // SZ 12.3.01 // SZ 13.3.01 // FR 13.3.01 // FAZ 15.3.01

Germany reports to UN Racism Commission

In its report to the UN's Racism Commission in Geneva, - all member states have to submit a written report biannually, which is then scrutinised in a UN hearing- the Federal Government has shown itself self-critical. Klaus Stoltenberg, assistant secretary of the Justice Ministry and head of the Berlin government delegation, has called it a "disgrace to our country" that the number of criminal offences with a right-wing extremist, racist or anti-Semitic background has increased by 58% on the previous year. In addition, Germany's delegation also reported on accusations of mistreatment of foreign nationals by police officers.
taz 15.3.01

Foreign Ministry issues new visa guidelines

The Foreign Ministry has changed administrative regulations for granting visas and concluded work on the revised version of its Country Reports, which are relevant for asylum decisions. The Foreign Ministry, headed by Joschka Fischer from the Greens, has criticised the guidelines put in place by the previous government as "shielding" Germany from applications by foreign nationals. According to the new rules, applicants with several previous trips to Germany will be treated with "trust", i.e. they will not be required to provide proof of their intention to return to their home country. If a visa application for the purpose of a family reunion has been rejected, embassy staff will in future have to provide a written explanation. Last year German embassies received more than 3 million visa applications, 2.6 million of which were granted.
FAZ 14.3.01 // FR 14.3.01

Statistics register fewer illegal border crossings

Last year the number of registered illegal crossings of German borders has decreased by 17% to 31,485. The majority of illegal border crossings were registered at the borders to the Czech Republic and Austria. The main source countries of the persons detained are Romania (3,456), Afghanistan (3,231) and Yugoslavia (2,822). According to border police statistics, the number of human traffickers, which were responsible for illegal entries of 10,320 persons (1999: 11,101), has also decreased to 2,740 (1999: 3,410). Interior Minister Schily stated that this "positive development" is the result of additional measures in transit countries to prevent illegal migration and trafficking. Liaison officers of German police and border police units, for example, collect information in transit countries on planned trafficking attempts. Germany, Italy and Greece support Albania in fighting illegal migration; a German-Italian-Slovenian agreement has introduced common border patrols at the Italian-Slovenian border.
FAZ 5.3.01 // BMI Press Statement 16.3.01 // FAZ 17.3.01 // taz 17.3.01

Asylum statistics

7,251 asylum petitions were submitted in March 2001, an increase of 16.6% on the previous month and of 16.9% on the same month last year. Accordingly, the first quarter of 2001 has witnessed an increase in applications of 11.2%. The number of applicants from Iraq is particularly high (largest source country). 40% of this group have registered themselves as ethnic Kurds. Turkey and Yugoslavia rank second among source countries. Decisions were passed on 7,350 applications. 275 applicants (3.7%) were recognised by authorities as entitled to political asylum, with an additional 11% protected against deportation according to Art. 51 Par. 1 Foreigners Act. 56.4% of applications have been rejected.
BMI Press Statement 5.4.01

March 2001

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