As the Christian Democrats and the Free Democrats begin to negotiate the framework of their new coalition on Monday, the report by the advisory board of the German Foundation for Integration and Migration could serve as an important road map for future German immigration policy, the magazine Der Spiegel reported.
“We concentrated on what is politically doable that the new government should absolutely go about doing in the next legislative period,” migration researcher Klaus Bade, who chaired the committee, told Der Spiegel.
The report recommends a “turbo” naturalisation process for especially well-integrated immigrants that would cut the time needed to acquire a German passport from six to four years. The committee says this option would help raise the falling number of immigrants who choose to apply for citizenship.
The experts also recommend revamping the highly criticised practice of forcing the children of binational couples to choose between German and another citizenship upon reaching adulthood. The panel called the current system unworkable and unnecessary in its present form.
In June, the Federal Statistics Office reported that naturalisations in 2008 had hit their lowest level since 1990, with just 94,500 foreigners taking the oath of citizenship, a drop of over 18,000 from the year before and nearly the half the number in 2000.
The report suggests the new CDU-FDP government build an immigration policy based on three pillars. Firstly, the government should enact a point system with qualitative criteria for immigrants.
Secondly, the point system should take into account labour market shortages and give bonus points to well-educated applicants whose skills are in high demand and expedite their work permits.
And lastly, the report recommends that companies in need of specialised labour be allowed to recruit abroad and bring the workers to Germany quickly and with as little paperwork as possible. To pay for the system and to discourage overuse, companies should pay a one-time fee equal to about 20 percent of the annual salary of the new foreign worker. The fee revenue would be used to train German workers.
“These new ideas would help everyone: the employers who struggle for months for work permits for urgently need specialised labor as well as the less qualified in Germany, whose job chances would climb by receiving more training,” Bade told Der Spiegel.