Actually, they agree on the traffic light. The coalition wants a “fresh start in migration and integration policy”. That’s what it says in the coalition agreement that the SPD, Greens and FDP agreed on a year ago. But there are always disputes.
The FDP recently complained because it fears that Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) is not setting the right priorities. Faeser had announced a reform of citizenship law – naturalization should be possible faster.
Secretary-General Bjian Djir-Sarai explained that the traffic light should not take the second step before the first. The FDP is pushing for better support for labor migration and stronger enforcement of deportations. In fact, this is also part of the conversion of the migration system that the traffic light is planning. An overview.
Skilled labor immigration law is particularly important for the FDP. For years, the Liberals have wanted a points system based on the Canadian model. This Wednesday, the key points for a law on the immigration of skilled workers are to be decided in the cabinet. The paper is in front of the Tagesspiegel. It provides three pillars. The “skilled workers pillar”, the “experience pillar” and the “potential pillar”.
Skilled workers should continue to form the “backbone of labor migration” to Germany. Qualifications from abroad should be easier to recognize in the future. But even without formal recognition of their degree, people should be able to immigrate to Germany – if they have two years of professional experience and a vocational or university degree that is valid in their country of origin.
The “Potential Pillar” means that people with good potential – i.e. very good knowledge of German – should be able to stay there to look for a job.
This week, in addition to a law to speed up asylum procedures, the Opportunity Residence Act is to be passed in the Bundestag. According to the draft law, at the end of December 2021 there were 242,029 tolerated foreigners in Germany. A good 136,000 have lived here for more than five years.
They should be given a chance to meet the requirements for permanent residence in Germany – they must therefore acquire language skills, secure their livelihood and provide proof of identity. Then they can stay permanently in the Federal Republic. The details were still being debated within the traffic lights until the very end.
Reform of our citizenship law is long overdue.
Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD)
The Union in particular attacked the project sharply. The planned right of residence means the abolition of the toleration rules and a blanket conversion into a right to stay, says CSU regional group leader Alexander Dobrindt. At the hearing on Monday about the new law, there was also criticism from experts. Klaus Ritgen from the German District Association, for example, expressed the fear that foreigners would be encouraged to enter Germany illegally and with no prospect of a right of residence or not to comply with their obligation to leave the country.
However, the traffic light also links the right to stay with the opportunity to deport criminals and those who are at risk more consistently than before. The plan is to make it easier for these people to be expelled and detained pending deportation. The traffic light coalition agreement even mentions a “repatriation offensive”.
“The traffic light swaggeredly promised a repatriation offensive – and again none of it was implemented,” criticized the domestic spokesman for the Union faction, Alexander Throm. The FDP also complains that things are not progressing strongly enough here.
One hurdle is that many of those who are at risk come from countries to which Germany is not currently deporting – such as Syria, Afghanistan or Russia. According to the Federal Ministry of the Interior, only 23 people from the Islamist-terrorist spectrum were deported by mid-November this year, whose cases had previously been dealt with in the “Joint Counter-Terrorism Center”.
The FDP has criticized the fact that the special representative for migration, whom the traffic light agreed in its coalition agreement, has not yet been deployed. This should conclude agreements with countries of origin that make both legal migration and the repatriation of migrants who are obliged to leave the country possible. Former NRW Integration Minister Joachim Stamp (FDP) has been under discussion for the post for a long time. But within the traffic light there is still a problem – the issue of repatriations is particularly sensitive for the Greens.
In addition, the traffic light is planning a paradigm shift in naturalizations. One of the main changes envisaged in Nancy Faeser’s draft is that the minimum length of stay for naturalization is to be reduced from eight to five years, and to three years for special integration services. If you want to become a German, you no longer have to give up your old citizenship.
The FDP had not criticized the project on the merits, but insisted that the immigration of skilled workers and repatriations should have priority. In fact, the Skilled Immigration Act is now to be passed in any case before or at the same time as the reform of citizenship law.
Children of foreigners who have been legally living in Germany for at least eight years and who were previously only allowed to keep both passports until their 23rd birthday would then no longer have to choose between Germany and their parents’ country of origin.
“The reform of our nationality law is long overdue and a great opportunity to strengthen our social cohesion,” Faeser defended her plans in a guest article in the Tagesspiegel this week.
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