Berlin draws up landmark immigration law
26 May 2004 , BERLIN – The German Government is preparing new legislation for a landmark immigration bill following a late-night agreement Tuesday between German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and opposition conservatives on the nation's first law aimed at foreign skilled workers.
26 May 2004
BERLIN – The German Government is preparing new legislation for a landmark immigration bill following a late-night agreement Tuesday between German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and opposition conservatives on the nation's first law aimed at foreign skilled workers.
The compromise, which was hammered between Schroeder and the leaders of Germany's main political parties, follows a three-year battle to bring the nation's immigration laws into line with nations such as Canada and the United States.
"We're going to have a modern immigration law," said Schroeder.
Despite enormous pressure from Germany industry for the new immigration law to be introduced, the Christian Democrat-led had insisted in the light of recent terror attacks notably in Madrid that the security provisions of the new legislation be strengthened.
In the end, it appears that the opposition, which controls the upper house of the German parliament, the Bundesrat, seems to have decided to allow the legislation to proceed rather than to risk been held responsible for its failure.
The new law is also aimed to helping to fill gaps in the German workforce, notably in the IT sector. But with unemployment standing at more than 10 percent, the new immigration law has been a deeply controversial political issue since it was first presented to parliament more than three years ago.
There are currently more than 7 million foreigners living in Germany with many of them having come to the nation as so-called guest workers.
Under the compromise foreigners can be expelled from Germany on the basis of circumstantial evidence of danger and calls for immigrants to be screened by the domestic intelligence agency.
Schroeder said a legal authority would be created to deport persons found to be at fault by a "fact-based threat assessment" even if they had committed no crime. This would include those who had undergone training in terrorism.
As tensions over the new immigration laws grew in recent weeks, the Greens, the junior member of Schroeder's ruling coalition, had at one point walked out of the talks with the opposition saying that no compromise could be reached.
Schroeder said details of the legislation would now be worked between the government and opposition with a draft presented to parliament by the end of next month.
He spoke after top-level talks with opposition leaders Angela Merkel and Edmund Stoiber in the Berlin office of the chancellor.
Stoiber said later his supporters would back the bill if they were satisfied with its final form.
Earlier in the day Schroeder had indicated he would go it alone on a more limited new immigration law if his two opposite numbers refused to compromise over a more sweeping bill.
Merkel welcomed the compromise, saying the ruling parties had "finally grasped that security issues are part of this".
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: German News