The German government approved this Wednesday a reform of the immigration policy that will promote the regularization of more than 100,000 foreigners without residence permits if they meet certain requirements. The measure affects people in an irregular situation who have been in the country for years and who have not been deported to their countries of origin for administrative or humanitarian reasons; They are popularly known as Geduldete (tolerated in German). “This is a change of perspective, we want people who are well integrated in Germany to have real opportunities,” said the Minister of the Interior, the Social Democrat Nancy Faeser, in an appearance in Berlin.
The project, which still has to be blessed by Parliament, will open the door to regularization for those who, as of January 1, 2022, have resided in the country for five years and have not committed crimes or have hidden their identity to avoid an expulsion. They will receive a one-year provisional residence permit in which they must meet other requirements, such as the ability to support themselves financially and speak German, in order to later be eligible for a long-term permit.
The council of ministers also approved facilitating the family reunification of qualified workers and simplifying the procedures for asylum seekers to access integration and language courses.
The bill that will allow undocumented foreigners to regularize their situation is approved at a time when Europe’s leading economy is experiencing unprecedented labor shortages. “We want to create a modern immigration law,” Faeser said.
The Government also seeks to speed up the integration of young people. Those under the age of 27 may, under certain circumstances, apply for permanent residence after only three years of stay in the country. In addition, the reform of the immigration law will try to make Germany a more attractive destination for skilled migrants. As explained by Faeser, the reform will facilitate the granting of visas to the relatives of these qualified professionals, who in the future will be able to reside in the country without having to prove language skills.
On the other hand, the law will allow the detention of foreigners who have committed crimes to be extended from a maximum of three to six months, so that the authorities have more time to organize the deportation, which is often complex from an administrative point of view.
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At the end of last year, the German economy estimated a labor deficit of 400,000 workers, and since then the bottlenecks have only increased. Auto component maker Continental, for example, has asked the government for a “managed” immigration process for skilled workers to address staffing shortages. He argued that he needs 2,500 new people each year, especially in the software and logistics.
The ruling coalition of Social Democrats, Greens and Liberals that took power late last year promised a major overhaul of the country’s outdated immigration policy. Two packages of measures are planned that will introduce a points-based entry system for foreign workers and make it easier to obtain citizenship.
According to official statistics, as of December 31, 2021, there were 242,029 foreigners tolerated in Germany, 136,605 of them for more than five years.