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Germany - Laws and enactments

The newly designed immigration policy of the Federal Government is guided by the following essential key data:

  • the consideration of the economic and social needs of Germany through a differentiated, demand-oriented governance and the limitation of future immigration;
  • the integration of the immigrants, who are living in Germany legally and permanently;
  • the satisfaction of the humanitarian duties, who emerge from the Basic Law and the many international obligatory contracts and pacts;
  • the guarantee of the protection and the safety of Germany and the peole, who are living in Germany;

Immigration act

The Immigration act ("ZuWG"- Law for guidance and limitation of Immigration and for the regulation of the residence and the intergration of Union citizens and foreigners) became law on the 1st January 2005. It had been preceded by a very lengthy legislative procedure, that had been discussed controversial in public, the Bundestag and the Federal Assembly. With the immigration act there is, for the 1st time, a legal framework which guides and restricts immigration effectively. At the same time, measures for the integration of the immigrants, who are living in Germany legally and permanently, are for the 1st time established by law. The immigration act consists of the Residence Act ("AufenthG"- Law for residence, occupation and the integration of foreigners in the federal territory), the law of freedom of movement/European Union ("FreizügG/EU"- Law for gerneral free movement of Union citizens), as well as changes in other laws. On the basis of the empowerments in the immigration act, several ordinances were enacted: The Ordinance on Official Procedures Enabling Resident Foreigners to take up Employment ("BeschVerV") and the Ordinance on the Admission of Foreigners for the Porpuse of Taking up Employment ("BeschV").

A new Ordinance Governing Residence embraces subject areas, which had until then been ruled by the executive order of the aliens act, by the foreigner charges and and by the foreigner data act. Citizens of a EU-member state are in general not part of the scope of the Residence Act, because as Union citizens they are able to move freely. The legal status of the Union citizens is regulated in the new law of freedom of movement/European Union ("FreizügG/EU").

The integration policy of the Federal Government pursues the principle: "Support and demand." Knowledge of the german language is a prerequisite for a successful integration into our society. Therefore the Union supports the conduct of integration courses in which the German language as well as the core values of the german society are supposed to be mediated. Integration is not just social work like it had been in the past, it is also migration governance. All new immigrants, foreigners with a permanent residence in Germany, late repatriates as well as Union citizens, get a general offer by the state concerning integration, which supports their own rehabilitation measures into our society. The core of the state measures is the integration course with 630 lessons, consisting of a language course for the mediation of adequate language knowlege as well as an orientation course for the mediation of knowledge about the legal system, history and culture in Germany. The rules entailed in the immigration policy were made concrete in the integration course act, which is supposed to ensure a national conduct of integration courses.

Asylum Procedure Act (AsylVfG)

A foreigner, who refers to the Asylum Law (an asylum seeker) has tu run a validation process, that is settled in the Asylum Procedure Act. The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees ("BAMF"), which belongs to the scope of the Federal Ministry of the Interior, is responsible for the conduct of the asylum procedure of all asylum seekers. Persons, who are entitled to asylum also appreciate the legal position of refugees according to the Geneva Convention of Refugees ("GFK"). Eligible for benefit are, according to the "ASYLbLG" (German social welfare law for asylum seekers), asylum seekers, foreigners with a suspension of deportation and others, who ware obliged to leave the country as well as foreigners with a residence permit according to the Residence Act ("AufenthG § 24/4,5"). The road to the german citizenship is the naturalization for foreigners, who live in Germany permanently. In contrast to the birthright, naturalization does not happen automatically but has to be requested. The official rules are rooted in the Nationality Act ("StAG"). According to article 83 of the Basic Law the provisions of the aliens law are conducted by the Länder themselves. Therefore, the locally concerned aliens registration authority has to make the decisions concerning the residence permits, according to prevailing legal norms. It is only committed to the instruction of the superior federal state authority.

Federal Expellees Act (BVFG)

According to article 116, paragraph 1 of the Basic Law one is a German, if (among other things) one was accepted as a refugee or an exile of german ethnicity or as the marital partner or descendant of one, who was accepted in the German Empire as of date of the 31th December 1937. As far as the person concerned does not own the German citzienship, what is the case regularly, they become status-germans. That means they are Germans without the german nationality according to article 116, paragraph 1, Basic Law, when they are accepted. The Federal Administration Office is responsible for the conduct of the lawsuit of the acceptance and distribution of the emigrants ("AusÜbsiedWOG"- Law for the determination of a preliminary residence for late repatriates).

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