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German media roundup: Merkel's convoluted immigration policy

The Local · 18 Oct 2010, 16:38

Published: 18 Oct 2010 16:38 GMT+02:00

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The German government announced plans on Monday for a raft of measures aimed at fostering integration of immigrants, two days after Merkel said multiculturalism had "completely failed."

Merkel's centre-right cabinet would adopt "concrete" new regulations governing immigration policy and residency permits, with a focus on German language courses and combating forced marriages, government spokesman Steffen Seibert said.

He added that the government aimed in December to sign off on a bill that would see more foreign diplomas formally recognised after Education Minister Annette Schavan announced plans for recognising more foreign credentials to allow for the recruitment of 300,000 more qualified immigrants.

At the moment, workers who have obtained qualifications abroad have to pass a series of practical and theoretical tests as well as undergo interviews and evaluations. With an ageing population, employers in Europe's biggest economy and exporter have long complained about a lack of trained youngsters and red tape hindering the hiring of qualified foreigners.

But several newspapers in The Local’s media roundup on Monday were sceptical of Merkel’s two-pronged offensive – bashing some immigrants while trying to lure others – would work.

Frankfurt an der Oder’s regional daily the Märkische Oderzeitung said the chancellor’s Christian Democratic Union appeared to lack a coherent immigration strategy.

“What exactly does the Union want in regards to the issue of integration? The chancellor is vacillating and once again trying to please everyone,” the paper wrote. “Wanting to remain the world’s leading exporter while not allowing more foreigners into country somehow doesn’t fit. But simply offering empty words won’t help this issue move forward.”

Saxony’s Leipziger Volkszeitung also pointed out Merkel’s seeming hypocrisy on the issue of immigration.

“Islam is part of Germany, but multiculturalism isn’t, says Merkel while giddily clapping for the TV cameras when Mesut Özil scores goals for the German national football team,“ wrote the paper, referring to the midfielder with Turkish roots.

“While the federal government attempts to hash out criteria for highly qualified immigrants, the flailing CSU boss Horst Seehorfer fantasises about foreign cultures and stopping immigration while enjoying Merkel’s protection. But that will simply scare away qualified experts,” the paper opined.

But the right-wing daily Die Welt wrote that multiculturalism can’t be dead, because it never lived in the first place.

“No one has anything against immigrants who live and work here and want to fit in,” the paper wrote. “But many have something against immigrants who want to bring their own laws along. To immigrate doesn’t just mean accepting the traditions of the chosen country, but respecting them too.”

Those who choose not to do so should “please stay away,” the paper said.

Leftist daily Die Tageszeitung said that the German abbreviation for multiculturalism, Multikulti, isn’t even used by the Green party as it once was, and has instead become a “puppet for conservative politicians to batter ritually when they crave applause.”

Story continues below…

But Merkel and Seehofer are using this technique and other “empty clichés” to distract from their real dilemma – that the economy, industry and their junior coalition partners, the pro-business Free Democrats all want skilled workers from abroad, while many in the public identify with the anti-immigrant remarks of former Bundesbank board member Thilo Sarrazin.

But Merkel and her conservatives know the country won’t make it without foreign workers, thus their recent proposals to institute an immigration point system similar to Canada’s, the paper said.

“The irony: Exactly this suggestion came from the Greens. But Merkel and Seehofer would rather throw themselves into rhetorical battles that have already long been decided.”

The Local/AFP/mry/ka

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

18:08 October 18, 2010 by West_Indian
"To immigrate doesn¦#39;t just mean accepting the traditions of the chosen country, but respecting them too.¦quot;

Accepting the traditions: I have never seen an Immigrant group protest against Oktoberfest or wanted to do away with it. Or wanting to do away with all the beer factories or stem the large consumption of pork and potatoes. Or get rid of all the fine cars. Following and respecting the law is one thing but following traditions sound a bit like bulling.

Are the Immigrants really hurting German traditions?
22:04 October 18, 2010 by catjones
Multiculturalism is not dead. That's ridiculous. Multiculturalism within Germany and multiculturalism within the EU is an expanding fact, not an experiment. Seamless integration should not be the yardstick by which one measures success, nor should it be the goal.
23:09 October 18, 2010 by pepsionice
I think folks ought to ask Muslims who've moved into Germany....why they moved. Get them to state why their old country, their old neighborhoods, their old economic system, and their old values....triggered them to take up their roots and leave. Make them state the reasoning. When they finish...just smile and say that you'd like to keep things in your country like they are....because that's what attracted folks to Germany in the first place.
23:36 October 18, 2010 by HollyMacarony

There is no ''multi-kulti'' in the first place. Majority of the people in Germany are Germans (over 90%). So Germany never had multiculturalism.

Muslims, a.k.a. Turks are just used as a scapegoat here because of financial crisis. Popularity of Angela Merkel is dropping so she needed to do/say something drastic.

It was an exaggerated and unnecessary statement.
23:59 October 18, 2010 by radagast
I dont get the point. What they are trying to do? Accepting school goers in their university or what? AFAIK, German universities accept standard 3/4 years of Bachelor for their Masters degree programs. What else they can recognise more?

Another point I dont understand. From where they get this info? Foreign workers have to attend tests? Interviews, yes. For local employees it is true also.

IMO, there are two kinds of immigrants. One is not-so-qualified. They get into Germany and want to stay here by any means. The other type is highly efficient employees/students. For them, Germany is NOT the only option. They can move to USA, Canada or Australia. Bashing immigrants in general, gives them a really bad message. German government should think the reason why there are so few students from efficient graduate making regions like Indian subcontinent, China, Japan, even though German universities are one of the world best. Students from those countries went to other relatively welcoming countries and contributing really well in their economies. Bad luck for Germany that they are not coming here.
00:44 October 19, 2010 by John Beck
MULTICULTURALISM never existed in Germany. That's a fact and anyone who believes otherwise is either blind or stupid. In my humble opinion, Angela Merkel is a coward for not saying things the way they really are and trying to masking the facts for polling and election purpose. I personally know some foreigners who¦#39;ve lived in Germany since they were little. Went to elementary, junior, high school and even university. They have high diplomas in engineering, education and more. They speak fluent German (better than some stupid native Germans I know) and most of all, these foreign born people look, dress and socialize the same way we do in the west. However, when they apply for a job, unfortunately that job is given to a Blond-Blue-eyed-German-born idiot. Is that the integration this stupid lady is talking about? Of course if you alienate all foreigners, keep good jobs away from them, they will be bound to seek assistance in the form of welfare and there is no one to blame but yourselves. Germany has and always be a racist country and that's just a sad fact. God bless...
01:22 October 19, 2010 by DinhoPilot
There are already many skillful and technical professional in germany. The problem is they are working as street cleaners, factory worker, etc.. It's not easy to get a job in germany if you are yellow, brown, light brown, tanned, weird named (in relation to a german name), etc...

Why create this illusion of we want, we need? If you really wanted and needed the salaries would be great, the opportunities of career, etc...

Even some poor countries in Africa and Asia can attract more skilled workers more than German.
01:57 October 19, 2010 by Bishopbayern
A great addition to the debate, Angela is a strong leader speaking out for the majority. Germany is christian, you don't need to become one but you must respect that way of life or don't come.
03:07 October 19, 2010 by HollyMacarony
@ Bishopbayern

I dont have to become one? Why thank you great bishop!

And what ''way of life''... I thought Germany was secular?
05:58 October 19, 2010 by deutschamer
The article has the following idiotic statement.

¦quot;What exactly does the Union want in regards to the issue of integration? The chancellor is vacillating and once again trying to please everyone,¦quot; the paper wrote. ¦quot;Wanting to remain the world¦#39;s leading exporter while not allowing more foreigners into country somehow doesn¦#39;t fit."

Skilled immigrants are welcome. Unskilled immigrants who will be living off welfare are not welcome. Its that simple. Duh.
07:56 October 19, 2010 by auniquecorn
Place immigrants in all the high paying jobs, Keep the germans down in all the hard labor low paying jobs.

That would work, and they can have 2 new taxes too.

Uneducated TAX.

Educated TAX.
09:33 October 19, 2010 by freechoice
well i think my German auto mechanic earns more than tertiary educated office workers..
09:34 October 19, 2010 by Simon_Kellett
"Germany is christian, you don't need to become one but you must respect that way of life or don't come."

It maybe Christian in theory, but it seems a little lacking in practice, like many/all "Western" "Christian" countries. There seems to be a shortage of tolerance, charity, fairness etc (not that these are ideas are exclusive to Christianity).
09:38 October 19, 2010 by freechoice
Germany claims to be a Christian country, but how many actually goes to church on Sunday? Or bears the 666 number plates in on their cars?
10:52 October 20, 2010 by JohnnesKönig
@pepsionice... Genau!
11:10 October 20, 2010 by Martwall
Culture and culture makes difference! Reportedly Germany needs 500 000 new workers a year to keep its economy up and running. Current immigration policy is a joke and dead end! Germany has abt 10% aliens at total unemployment ratio 8% !!!! This perfectly proves that most of them are unqualified and will never give anything back to the society but the problems.

LAST BUT NOT LEAST, UP UNTIL TODAY, GERMANY HAS NOT OPENED THEIR LABOUR MARKET TO THE NEW EU MEMBER STATES. Instead, they prefer permanent immigrants of completely different culture and religious background. Does it all - EU - make sence?????????????????????????
12:45 October 20, 2010 by tallady
freechoice,,what to hell does the attendance of the faithful have to do with Merkel's integration policy???
14:57 October 20, 2010 by giltedged
The last thing people should do is compare immigration policy with that in the USA, Canada or Australia. Why not compare it with China where double-digit growth is happening year in, year out?

Does anyone in Europe want their cities to look like New York, Detroit or whatever?

If the Germans do not want foreign Muslims in their country it is their divine right and the politicians should obey what the Germans demand. Germans do not want multikulti. And this mass of semi-literate foreigners should be sent back.

The people of Europe in general, not just in Germany, have been fooled far too long. The bulk of immigrants from outside Europe are unwanted and unneeded. If that is defined as racism, so be it. And the politicians had better put the people's demands into action
16:14 October 20, 2010 by HollyMacarony

Who should be sent back? Citizens of Germany?

Try it...
17:07 October 20, 2010 by michael4096
"If the Germans do not want foreign Muslims in their country it is their divine right and the politicians should obey what the Germans demand."

Not while they are in the EU and signed up to other international treaties it isn't

And, I haven't seen anything anywhere that would suggest that a majority or even a significant minority of germans support expultion of anybody

"Germans do not want multikulti."

Really? As far as I have seen, the disappointment is because germans do want multikulti but it doesn't seem to be working

"And this mass of semi-literate foreigners should be sent back. "

Which mass of semi-literates are you talking about? Most 'foreigners' in germany are as literate as non-foreigners and were born here so don't have a 'back' to be sent to

You really haven't a clue have you? And you call them semi-literate
19:43 October 20, 2010 by krautrock
If there's a country that has become rich thanks to immigrants that's Germany.

If there's a country that never had big problems with immigrants that's Germany.

So it's really funny to see the mess Angela has created only to appeal some kind of people (just read some comments above to know who)
03:31 October 23, 2010 by kreese
When you Germans get tired of Merkel, send her to America! We will be glad to have someone that understands the problems of immigration.
15:52 October 23, 2010 by Wise Up!
INTEGRATION, INTEGRATION, INTEGRATION...whaqt is so hard about that. You must adapt to your host country if you want to be successful. Otherwise stay home!!!!!!!!!!
19:08 October 23, 2010 by Bishopbayern
I agree with wise up. Would any of the immigrant countries allow us to flout their cukture and laws? Never. If you don't like european cgristian culture then stay in the muslim mid east. Its really not that difficult.
09:01 October 24, 2010 by khopdee
One reason people from the country's biggest immigrant community should be deported is because of their spitting obsession.They seem to be the only uncivilized bunch of people who spit all along.Just get rid of them and get 'Quality' immigrants.
12:39 October 24, 2010 by bestman
The game plan in Germany is to carry on with the importation of cheap labor no matter how large or well founded objections might be as long as they don't cause truly disruptive protests. The calculation is all about money of course. When the problems with that policy become overwhelmingly glaring to everyone big business figures it will too late to do anything anyway so they will have succeeded. Profit at any price is the aim, no matter whether or not the the standard of living and quality of life declines for the rest of us.

Mark my words.
13:34 October 24, 2010 by Cracatoa
As an Australian, I wish Germany a bright future. Please defend your way of life and don't let muslim immigration ruin your country. Europe is just a small part of the globe. There is plenty of other territory for them to 'consume'. Don't let the wonderful cradle of free thinking civilisation fall. Have babies and reignite amazing strengths German's are renowned for.
15:57 October 24, 2010 by The Kraut
I am very much of a Kraut genetically as well as mentally, I am only writing in English. Before WW I the Tommies and the Fritzes used to regard each other as distant though funny cousins. There was even an pub in London called Frederick the Great. I still find you Yanks and Cockneys much more amusing than those bearded and headscarved forest goblins from the realm of the sultans and the sheiks.

I would like to make it very clear that nobody wants to chase you Anglos away and that we need your skilled labour and expertise. I know what I am talking about since there are quite a few Anglos at my workplace and we get on quite well.

I think we should simply point out to those people who adhere to the more sinister elements of their prophet's teachings and their sometimes funny interpretations of what is written in that funny book of theirs that we don't want their darkness of mankid of a religion to slowly but relentlessly smother our freedom. They're out us and they will soon be outnumbering us, that is the problem.

Old Kraut
16:55 October 24, 2010 by Curmudgeon
Multiculturalism is a political objective to break down nations' resistance to the new world order. If you dare question it, you are branded a racist. Enoch Powell spoke of the unintended consequences of British immigration 40 years ago. He was branded a racist. All of his predictions of unintended consequences have come true. Germany was intentionally destroyed in two world wars because it was becoming too powerful economically. The millions of the civilian population were starved to death in order to create the need for workers. Those workers came mostly from Turkey. The cat was set among the pigeons. pepsionice has hinted at the issue. The people coming to Germany, the rest of Europe, Canada, and the USA, from the 2nd and 3rd world, are economic migrants. No matter how bad conditions are, they know their lives will be better than where they came from. Governments use them to lower the expectations of their own citizens. Their countries have populations to great for their land mass. They have, to a large degree, destroyed their ability to feed themselves. The greatest export from countries like Pakistan, Ethiopia, and the Philippines is people. Cheap labour for industry. This is all part of the plan for one world government.
01:02 October 25, 2010 by zane32
that is plain pathetic.....It is a European deja vu..........haven't you asked yourselves dear commentators that each time a government needs to cover up or drift away from what is really bothering it the immigrants pay the price....goverments, esp. in Germany and France have never been an issue to their hosted countries...in fact the host countries have neglected them and consigned them into oblivion........it's always been like this in Europe..In Germany, if you are2nd or 3rd generation German of Turkish descent, well integrated and speak the language exactly as Merkel or Seehofer expect you, you are still considered to be turkish,,.... ..............maybe Germans should change their mindset concerning what is really German according to them... I would particularly like to mention the German icy and cold attitude .... some Germans after having spent some time on vacation in esp. in Middle East, North Africa...come back and applaud how welcoming, friendly and warm the people have been and so they come back with a very positive attitude that soon disappears two to three weeks later and become icy and arrogant again...

Multiculturalism has always existed in Germany since its existence......wait a minute they have deported and massacred almost the whole JEWISH community in Germany and Europe....how can you, dear commentators, remember there was such a thing?

First,,,JEWS, Eastern Europeans....then Turks and Arabs............

This is a serious phenomena and needs to be dealt with immediately before German Society shift toward the right wing parties...........as it happened during 2nd World War by blaming foreigners and Jews for their dilemma .......
01:17 October 25, 2010 by bestman
Oh wait a minute, maybe this debate is a tempest in a teapot. After all how bad could life be with Sharia law in Germany?
09:32 October 25, 2010 by snaark
You're all retarded.

How does this differ from the immigration policies of every other developed country in the world? All countries want to encourage skilled migrants, which benefit the economy, and discourage unskilled migrants, with detract from the economy. It is not xenophobic, rather pragmatic. Immigration for purely philanthropic reasons (i.e. allowing immigration of refugees) is indeed an obligation of all developed countries, but this amounts for only a small proportion of immigrants.
10:45 October 25, 2010 by bestman
Skilled immigrants may benefit the economy but they don't do much for quality of life issues such as the threat of overpopulation or the preservation of local cultures. The society may become richer through imported labor but virtually unrestricted immigration of the kind that is permitted now in the EU is suicidal.
18:55 October 25, 2010 by Bruno53
Well, finally Frau Merkel has done it! If I were German I will refuse to vote for her. Lucky the Germans that still loves her: I am not.
09:18 October 26, 2010 by radonrain
Oh snaark, thank you so much for reintroducing sanity to these comments.

bestman, if there's a shortage of workers there obviously isn't any looming threat of overpopulation in Germany.
10:07 October 26, 2010 by mehta_p
wtfK is a qualified immigrant??

One can find a list of fields for Candian and Danish visa in internet where you can see that if you come under any field or not and can conclude chances to get visa.

If great Ms Merkel is able to find out and publish such list, many QUALIFIED immigrants will definitely get attracted to germany. And once such immigrants knows that they can have better future here, they might be willingly contribute for integration here. For this Ms Merkel has also to consider the nations which can get integraed here before issuing visas.

I said in last few weeks, there was almost same kindda news in 2004 about need of qualified immigrants in Germany, but what happened in last 6 yrs is:

- many visas have been issued to refugees

- many visas have been issued to those who got married with german ONLY for visas, after gettiing better status; divorce and invited or got married with 2-3 women from their home-country and now happily living here with their community

- many visas have been issued for ilegal people as well

- many visas have been issued to less-qualified as well

there might be cases many ilegal people have been kicked, but still there are many living here in Germany.

For me, most important is to know - what is a QUALIFIED immigrant here?????
10:52 October 26, 2010 by Actuality
What happens to the poorer countries which are being "drained of their brains"? Surely third world countries need to hang on to their professional people?
14:07 October 26, 2010 by snaark
mehta_p, a qualified immigrant is someone with qualifications, usually a higher (read tertiary or postgraduate) education, in a sector for which there is a lack of suitably qualified persons amongst the naturalised population.

That would seem rather obvious, but perhaps your not qualified...
22:35 October 26, 2010 by Aussie-bum
@John Beck ...... in agreement !! Germans have not moved from their past - still strongly a racist nation ...period ...U notice it at airports, racilal profiling .. a sad , superficial nation!

@Kraut ....so U're afraid of sinister elements outnumbering the German race ......easy solution why start with your genocide ...U're good at that!!! ...get rid of all those Arabs , Turks, Africans ...... maintain the German aryan race!!
10:08 October 27, 2010 by mehta_p

i know the meaning, definition for 'qualified immigrant'.

I would like to know IN WHICH SECTORs there is lack of suitably qualified persons here in Germany??

And it would be better if there is any official website providing this info and rules/laws for their visa processing. (a list of sectors in which germany is seeking well educated and experienced personel)

Whatever these ministers are saying is not yet very concrete and that can lead to conflicts over immigrants among political parties here in German which might spoil Germany in next 15-20 yrs.
11:17 October 27, 2010 by snaark
This is great :)

Those sectors are IT, engineering and medicine to name a few. They are mentioned on the news almost daily.

And there are oodles of websites detailing this information. Try Google. Its a "search engine" that finds websites for you. Just type some key words into the box and click on "search Google".

16:26 October 27, 2010 by mehta_p

i hav got some interesting info on following website:

Introduction to Immigration to Germany


This law has come into force since January 2005 but still I see many refugees and people who have entered Germany illegaly getting visas and financial help from German govt in more numbers than QUALIFIED immigrants.

Already there are many less qualified immigrants here in Germany and if there will be many more such qualified immigrants enters Germany then wht will be situation of GERMANS?

Many Germans don't get marry, or don't want to have child or go for gay marriages.

Anyways from this website, I have come to know about the fact that even after having postgraduation (master) degree from Technical University after Bachelor in engineering stream, I don't come under QUALIFIED immigrants and anyday when i loose my job, Germany can cick me out.

So wht less educated or less qualified immigrants do here, jst focus on improving status, according to RULES and REGULATIONS is not a bad idea. That means arab, turks are staying here since yrs, working on low wages but they are having German-passports which is good for them. Anyhow, turks are having 2nd-3rd generation here and earning much more than many germans.

But when a person studied at TU Germany and after study had worked 3-4 yrs here but still can not complete conditions to get permanent-residency or passport, can be kicked out immediately after loosing his/her job.
23:04 November 7, 2010 by mixxim
In England a voucher system was introduced about five years ago to enable 'qualified immigrants' entry. This was seized on by many africans and asians as a means of leaving their own countries. Most of these appear to have settled for jobs as security guards, pump attendants and car washers. despite being qualified as bank managers, lawyers and accountants. (Well would you hire a Nigerian to look after your finances?) It might appear that the only ones obtaining work suiting their qualifications are in the medical profession. As if third world countries have trained an excessive number of doctors and have no need of them. Perhaps Germany should put in more resources to train their unemployable spoilt children....
00:13 November 8, 2010 by mehta_p
can it be a small example of integration, when Mr and Mrs Obama do Koli-dance on India-tour??

The Obamas do Maharashtra's Koli dance :

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