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efms Migration Report

November 1997

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Spranger: restrictions to be relaxed for foreign students

Carl-Dieter Spranger, the Development Aid Minister, announced that restrictions on foreign students will be relaxed. Students will no longer have to produce verification of their ability to finance their entire course of studies; they will merely have to demonstrate that they have funds for one year. Nor will they have to prove that they have accommodation before entering Germany. Part-time jobs to finance their studies will be permitted. Scholars and scientists from developing countries will be allowed to bring their wives and children insofar as their financial support is guaranteed. It now remains for the ministries of the interior, education, development aid as well as the foreign ministry to confer and harmonize the regulations.
dpa 2.11.97 // taz 8.11.97

Federal administrative court: civil-war refugees not entitled to asylum

According to a ruling of the federal administrative court, civil-war refugees from Afghanistan are not entitled to asylum in Germany. The judges argued that since the asylum law did not safeguard against the consequences of civil war, civil-war refugees could not as a rule be awarded asylum. Circumstances which would justify extending asylum law to "quasi-governmental persecution" did not exist. According to German law, a civil war has approximately the same significance as a natural catastrophe.
dpa 4.11.97

Hessen: low voter-turnout in elections for aliens advisory boards

Only 15.2% of the foreigners entitled to vote came to the polls in the second state-wide election of local aliens advisory boards in Hessen. At the first election of the boards in 1993 participation had been at 20.3%. Several possible explanations were given for the low turnout: many notifications of election could not be delivered to the addressees; the notifications themselves, written in German, were often not understood; and, most of all, the aliens boards are not perceived to be of significance. In Frankfurt voter-turnout was as low as 7.9%. In Frankfurt and Rüsselsheim the victors at the polls were Islamist groupings.
dpa 4.11.97 // dpa 9.11.97 // FR 11.11.97 // taz 11.11.97

Germany will not yet sign the European Council convention on facilitating naturalization

The federal government does not intend to sign the European Council convention intended to facilitate the naturalization of foreigners and dual citizenship. The signatory states will be obliged to expedite the naturalization of persons born on their territories who are residing there lawfully. A spokesman of the federal ministry of the interior justified the attitude of the federal government, saying the time was not right. Signing the convention would give a political signal and the government wished to avoid this in view of the current debate in Germany on the reform of citizenship law.
dpa 6.11.97 // FR 7.11.97

Emnid polls on citizens" views regarding alien policy

A study of the Emnid Institute revealed that two out of three Germans do not feel that refugees and asylum seekers in Germany are unjustly treated. Around 80% of those questioned stated that Germany treated refugees better than most other countries. This view is shared by two-thirds of the Green-Party voters. Approximately two thirds of those questioned agreed with the statement that there were too many foreigners in Germany. Especially supporters of the CDU/CSU, SPD and the PDS are of this opinion. FDP supporters are divided on this subject. Only among Green-Party voters does the majority disagree with the statement that there are too many foreigners in Germany.
Welt 7.11.97

Bundestag extends residence-assignment law for Aussiedler

With votes from the CDU/CSU, FDP and SPD the Bundestag passed a resolution to extend the residence-assignment law for Aussiedler (ethnic German immigrants from eastern Europe) until the year 2000. The law functions as an instrument of control in order to avoid the concentration of Aussiedler in any given area. The Aussiedler will receive public funds such as integration and welfare assistance only at the places of residence assigned to them. Only in mid-July 2000, when the law expires, will Aussiedler be free to choose their residences without suffering financial disadvantages.
Welt 14.11.97 // SZ 15.11.97

Bundestag passes law to combat illegal employment

The Bundestag has passed a bill supplementing the welfare legal code. This bill is intended to more effectively control and combat illegal employment and the abuse of social security benefits. The bill regulates the interdepartmental data exchange between the Federal Bureau of Labor and the statistical bureaus of the federal government and the Länder. The checks on alien workers at construction sites will be intensified and the fines for illegal employment raised from 100,000 to 500,000 marks. The bill must still be ratified by the Bundesrat.
SZ 15.11.97

Dusch: approximately half of the asylum-seekers entered illegally

According to data of the president of the Federal Bureau for Recognition of Foreign Refugees, Hans Georg Dusch, some 50,000 asylum seekers were smuggled into Germany by immigrant smuggler gangs in 1997. These numbers are the result of an analysis of the travel routes and means of travel of asylum seekers. The number of aliens smuggled into Germany, according to Dusch, had risen dramatically in comparison to the previous year, making up half of all asylum seekers. The Schlepper (immigrant smugglers) demand up to 20,000 marks for a successful entry. Since the immigrants are seldom able to raise the required sums, they are in danger of getting involved in drug dealing to pay back their debts. For this reason, says Dusch, it is important to limit the stay in Germany to a maximum of six months in order to signalize that coming to Germany does not pay off.
dpa 16.11.97 // FAZ 17.11.97 // NZ 17.11.97 // Welt 17.11.97

Catholic Church demands assistance for foreigners without residence rights

In a nation-wide list of demands drawn up by the ordinariate of the Archbishop of Berlin, the Catholic Church spoke out against characterizing persons without residence rights as "illegal" and treating them like criminals. The Archbishop"s commissioner for migration questions, Cornelia Bührle, adovcates helping those in need regardless of their objective transgressions. As short-term measures the church calls for the the creation and maintenance of facilities to meet welfare, medical and educational needs. People who cannot be deported to their home countries should receive toleration status so that they will not sink into illegality. Deporting the victims of immigrant trafficking should no longer be allowed.
dpa 18.11.97 // FR 19.11.97

Conference of the interior ministers rejects deportation ban for Algerians

The federal and state interior ministers agreed at their conference in Schwerin not to declare a deportation ban for the some 5,000 Algerians living in Germany who have been obliged to leave the country. Justifying their decision, the interior minister of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Armin Jäger, said that the statutory requirements for a ban on deportation did not exist. Neither was there a civil war in Algeria, nor did the brutal action of the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) justify a claim to asylum.
Welt 22.11.97 // FR 22.11.97 // taz 22.11.97

Federal Border Police breaks up immigrant smuggler gang

In a large-scale, nation-wide action, the Federal Border Police (BGS) broke up an international gang of immigrant smugglers who had brought 3,000 people into Germany over the last ten years. According to BGS information, the gang consisted mainly of Turkish Kurds. They smuggled their compatriots from Istanbul over Romania to the Czech Republic from where they entered Sachsen and Bayern over the "green border". The immigrant smugglers charged approximately 6,000 marks per person.
SZ 29.11.97

Linguistic analysis of asylum seekers

The Federal Bureau for the Recognition of Foreign Refugees will begin in January to test a procedure involving linguistic analysis of recording tapes to determine the exact countries of origin of asylum seekers. This practice, which is already standard procedure in other European countries, will enable authorities to detect false information and in so doing to expedite the deportation of rejected asylum seekers. According to the bureau"s data, among the 88,000 asylum seekers in the first ten months of this year, there were 2,200 cases in which the nationality of the individual could not be clarified.
dpa 28.11.97 // SZ 1.12.97

Debate on the reform of citizenship law

The discussion of citizenship-law reform generated in late October by a non-partisan group reform proposal was terminated at the end of November. The advocates of reform from all political parties were unable to come to an agreement. Representatives of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group rejected any group petition with the argument that such a petition would be more harmful than useful to the reformers" target of better integration of foreigners born in Germany. In mid-month the CDU executive committee and the CDU/CSU Bundestag group had spoken out against dual citizenship. Instead, both committees voted in favor of Interior Minister Manfred Kanther "s compromise proposal which would guarantee foreign children born in Germany naturalization at the age of 18. Aliens born in Germany would automatically receive German citizenshp provided they give up the citizenship of their home countries. There would be special regulations for countries in which it is problematic to renounce citizenship. The naturalization guarantee would be stated explicitly in a special entry in the foreigners" identification papers. Those concerned would also be permitted to assume civil service training positions.
Welt 3.11.97 // SZ 6.11.97 // FAZ 8.11.97 // SZ 11.11.97 // FR 11.11.97 // FAZ 11.11.97 // SZ 28.11.97

Aussiedler statistics

The commissioner for Aussiedler (ethnic German immigrants), Horst Waffenschmidt, has announced that in 1997 a total of 40,000 fewer Aussiedler than in the previous year were expected. He attributed this decrease to insufficient knowledge of German, as a result of which many Aussiedler failed the mandatory German test. A second reason, he said, was the growing number of Aussiedler who, after a temporary stay in Germany, returned to Russia. This apparently dissuaded other ethnic Germans from emigrating to Germany.
SZ 2.12.97

Asylum statistics

According to data of the Federal Bureau for the Recognition of Foreign Refugees, 8,399 persons applied for asylum in Germany in November. This is 1,393 fewer (13.9% less) than in October. In comparison to November 1996 the number of asylum seekers declined by 17.9%. In November the bureau recognized 581 persons as entitled to asylum and refused recognition in more than 8,000 cases. From January to the end of November 1997, a total of 96,660 persons applied for asylum. In comparison to the same period of the previous year, this was a decrease of almost eleven percent. The main country of origin in November was once again former Yugoslavia with 1,802 applications. The next largest groups were from Turkey, Irak and Afghanistan.
SZ 6.12.97 // FAZ 6.12.97 // taz 6.12.97

November 1997

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