New Integration Law for Germany

German government initiates integration legislation for the first time in history, raising the question of selective right to residency

May 30th, 2016
Vanja Lukenic, News from Berlin

Mid-April, the Big Coalition (SPD, CDU CSU) agreed on a new integration legislation for refugees, which was launched at a closed conference in Meseberg, Germany on May 24th. Moderator Anne Will discussed the severity of the new law.

„ (..) Easier integration of refugees onto the labour and the education markets and the right for permanent residency for those who fulfill all requirements (...)“ is the goal of the new intergration legislation, said German Minister for Employment Andrea Nahles (SDP) and Minister for Defence Thomas de Maziére (CDU)  Another 100 000 job vacancies (including temporary agency employment) will open for asylum seekers in Germany, due to a new law, launched on May 24th. Until now, immigrants had to run through the so called „priority examination“, which grants a German or EU-citizen priority to job offers. This policy, which will remain frozen for the next three years, which will affect German federal states with high unemployment rates.  

The legislation grants residency to trainees and an extended 2-year residency is granted to graduates with employment prospects. Those who drop out of traineeship may lose their residence permit. The new system will also impose cutbacks on federal financial aid, should the refugees not prove integration progress. The principle is „assisting but also demanding“, as stated by Angela Merkel. The humanitarian organisation Pro Asyl considers the new law discriminatory. They and other humanitarian organisations forsee more discriminative and restrictive elements of the law lacking in integration propositions. They also conclude that extended/permanent residency and language acquisition are key driving forces in the  integration process. However, the government does not easily faciliate the acquisition of these forces over the time of residency. Instead, the integration legislation sanctions immigrants by spreading the preconception that immigrants are unwilling to assimilate themselves in society. As a result, this may raise potential risk of prejudices and discrimination towards immigrants. Despite the regulatory measures in Germany´s immigration policy, the core problem remains; the government is not providing sufficient measures of integration.

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