Fewer Late-Arriving Aussiedler, Fewer Entry Applications, but More Problems With Integration

Weniger Spaetaussiedler, Weniger Aufnahmeantraege, Aber Mehr Integrationsprobleme

Presseerklaerung des Bundesinnenministeriums

"Fewer Late Arriving Aussiedler, Fewer Entry Applications, but More Problems With Integration." Volk auf dem Weg, February 2004, 4-5.

Translation from German to English by Alex Herzog, Boulder, Colorado

Jochen Welt
As part of his status report at a year-end press conference in Berlin on December 30, 2003, the official responsible for the German Federal Government for Aussiedler affairs and national minorities, Jochen Welt, also Member of the Bundestag, elucidated on the content and objectives of the current Aussiedler policy of the Federal Government.

"The number of Aussiedler and family members registered following their arrival in Germany has once again decreased drastically in 2003. With about 72,000 persons (91,416 during the previous year) we have registered a decrease of about 20 percent," said Welt. And the number of entry applications went down even more strongly by 32 percent as compared to the previous year (66,833 then vs. 46,000 in 2003).

Number of Ausssiedler 1950 - 2003

Also showing a decrease this past year is the proportion of the arrivals who are qualified in the German language. The percentage of those of German descent, as defined in the federal refugee law, i.e., those who passed a language test, has in the meantime gone down to a mere 20 percent. The number of accompanying family members or other relatives who usually have little or no German language abilities is now at 80 percent.

Jochen Welt commented on these numbers as follows:

"The current statistics are of significance in several ways. They do indicate that we continue to urgently need an act regarding immigration. This law is intended to improve significantly the preconditions for successful integration: for one thing, it will expand the number of those individuals who have the right to take language courses, and for another, it will require that those who wish to immigrate first learn the German language in their current countries of origin, thus making it easier for them to integrate socially and professionally within Germany. It is a well-known fact that problems with integration into German society have become more acute especially among youthful immigrants. They are more susceptible to crime and the drug scene, not in the least due to failure in school ascribed to lack of German language ability, and because it is often against their own wishes that they accompany their parents and families in leaving their countries of origin. These factors can easily lead to explosive social situations here in Germany.

In addition to making greater efforts toward better integration, we must also enforce, as quickly as possible, the conditions required by the immigration law concerning the acquisition of German language abilities. It is regrettable that another year has gone without passage of a new immigration act.

The real point is to avoid problems with integration, especially for non-German family members of belated Aussiedler. However, developments in this area have actually been in the negative direction, and this must be corrected with maximal urgency. It is because of such factors that the draft of the new immigration act makes entry of foreign spouses and descendants of the belated Aussiedler rightfully dependent on their taking and passing a language test in their countries of current origin, and with sufficient skills. This should not only ease their integration in Germany, but should also increase their acceptance by the German population. I appeal therefore to those responsible parties in the CDU/CSU [Christian Democratic Union/Christian Socialist Union, the current political opposition party in the German government] finally to give the green light toward passage of the pending immigration act."

"The actual decrease in the number of entry applications has multiple causes. A decisive factor may be that, subsequent to the paradigm shift by the Federal Government concerning its assistance policy, real assistance has been provided in a more targeted and efficient manner. These efforts are now geared as assistance toward self-help, in contrast to the expensive, often ineffective bad barely manageable grand projects of earlier times," said Welt.

Most importantly, the support program has not been limited to only a few regions, but expanded to a broad base. On the forefront are such factors and measures as meeting places, work with the youth, as well as individual assistance in qualifying for careers, fostering language acquisition, and granting credits; thereby guaranteeing effective expenditure of moneys and improving individual futures at the local level. Opportunities have been taken advantage of, leading to strengthening of some in their desire to remain without emigrating. The numbers cited earlier shows this to be true.

In his concluding remarks, the representative for Aussiedler affairs commented as follows:

"The Federal Government stands by its responsibilities toward German minorities in their current countries of origin. It respects, now and in the future, each person's individual decision to shape one's future in their current home country or -- within the framework of the procedures provided by the legal preconditions for entry -- to emigrate to Germany.

In the coming years, the Federal Government will continue its goal-oriented assistance policy, in cooperation with the governments of current countries of origin. In the region of central and eastern European nations, particularly of those that will enter the EU within the coming years, the manner and duration of assistance will have to be adapted to the process of integration into Europe, mindful not to damage existing structures irreparably. At the same, the Federal Government will strengthen its efforts in urging that all opportunities for self-help by the German minorities are exhausted, and that governments of current countries of origin assume their own responsibilities for German minorities living in their countries.

Our appreciation is extended to Alex Herzog for translation of this article.

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