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efms Migration Report


November 2001

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Immigration law: government coalition reaches compromise

On 7th November 2001, the Federal Cabinet passed the immigration and integration bill introduced by Otto Schily, the Federal Interior Minister. The reform includes the following main amendments: immigration possibilities for foreign labour under a standard and a credit system, simplifying residence regulations and additional public integration programmes. In addition, there are plans to set up a Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, with centralised responsibilities for all migration-related matters. Mr. Schily's first draft, presented in August, has been modified in several respects, mainly in order to accommodate the views of the Green coalition partner: persons subject to non-governmental or gender-specific persecution are to be recognised as entitled to political asylum; children of migrants are to be entitled to join their parents in Germany up to the age of 14 or 18 respectively, provided these children possess German language skills. According the coalition's plans, the reform is to become law at the beginning of 2003.
Press Statement: Federal Ministry of the Interior 5.11.01 // Press Statement: Federal Government 5.11.01 // Neue Züricher Zeitung 6.11.2001 // FAZ 6.11.01 // Press Statement: Federal Government 7.11.01


Opposition parties (CDU/CSU) reject immigration bill, whereas employers support it

The two main opposition parties, CDU and, in particular, CSU, have rejected the immigration bill proposed by the Federal Government as, in their view, the proposals would allow additional immigration instead of limiting it. Their criticism particularly focuses on amendments to recognise persons subject to non-governmental and gender-specific persecution as entitled to political asylum, and lowering the age up to which non-German children are allowed to join their parents in Germany to 14 years.

It is thus uncertain whether the Bundesrat, the upper house of parliament representing the German Laender, will pass the bill in February or March. As the states with SPD-led governments do not have a majority in the Bundesrat, the state of Brandenburg, with its SPD-CDU coalition government, will play a decisive role. Mr. Schönbohm, Brandenburg's Interior Minister, has expressed his willingness to enter into negotiations, on condition that several clauses of the bill are altered.

Industry and employers' representatives, on the other hand, have urged the CDU/CSU to support the bill. According to Olaf Henkel, the former chairman of the Association of German Industry (BDI), there are only minor differences between the two drafts presented by the red-green government and the CDU commission on immigration chaired by Peter Müller. In his view, the concepts underlying the government bill are widely supported by industry, trade unions, churches and politic parties.
Spiegel 7.11.01 // BZ 7.11.01 // SZ 8.11.01 // SZ 20.11.01


National security measures in the fight against terrorism

On 7th November 2001, the Federal Cabinet passed two bills: the immigration bill, and the so-called "2nd Security Package", which has also been presented by Mr. Schily, the Federal Interior Minister. The main focus of the latter is on expanding the rights of Germany's intelligence agencies. It includes amendments in the Foreigners Law, concerning more rigorous checks of visa applications, and expanding the Central Register for Foreigners into a comprehensive information system on visa applicants and non-Germans entering the country. According to the bill, police, intelligence agencies and other authorities will have access to this comprehensive database. Changes in deportation guidelines are to make it easier to deport members of extremist organisations.

Opposition parties have criticised these proposals as not far-reaching enough, demanding even tighter regulations in order to prevent extremists from entering the country and allow swifter deportations.

Meanwhile the Bundestag, the lower house of the federal parliament, has passed the first anti-terrorism laws: the abolition of the so-called religious privilege in the Law on Associations, thus allowing authorities to ban extremist organisations, and the DM 3 billion national and international security package. The Bundesrat, the upper house of the federal parliament, has introduced additional anti-terrorism bills, with even stricter regulations than the ones included in the government's security package. One of the Bundesrat's proposals calls for screening applicants for naturalisation by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution.
Tagesspiegel 2.11.01 // Press Statement BMI 5.11.01 // SZ 7.11.01 // Press Statement BMI 9.11.01 // SZ 10.11.01 // SZ 10.11.01 // FAZ 16.11.01 // Welt 26.11.01


Desicions on Afghan asylum applications are put on hold

Since 17th November 2001, the Federal Office for the Recognition of Refugees (BAFl) has put all decisions on asylum applications by Afghan nationals on hold. Albert Schmid, the president of the BAFl, has stressed that recent developments in Afghanistan call for re-evaluations. 2,488 Afghan asylum applicants have been recognised as entitled to political asylum during the first ten months of 2001. Now that the Taliban have lost their power in Afghanistan, is has to be investigated whether forms of state-like persecution still exist in this country.
Welt 24.11.01 // FR 26.11.01 // Spiegel Online 27.11.01 // Press Statement BMI 7.12.01


Asylum statistics

In November 2001, a total of 8,006 applications for political asylum have been submitted, an increase by 1.2% (97 applications) over November 2000. Compared to October 2001, figures have decreased by 8.6% (758 applications). Thus the trend of increasing numbers since the beginning of 2001 has not continued. The main countries of origin remain to be Iraq, Turkey and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, followed by Afghanistan with 604 persons (compared to 678 in the previous month). Of the 11,635 applications that have been decided on in November, 4.8% were recognised as entitled to political asylum; a further 14.8% are protected against deportation under 51.1. 57.9% of applications have been rejected.
Press Statement BMI 7.12.01

November 2001

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