Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Migration policy: Dispute over work permits for asylum seekers

SZ.de Migration policy: Dispute over work permits for asylum seekers Article by By Roland Preuß, Berlin • 14 hours Called on the parties to be willing to compromise: Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier (right) with Bundestag President Bärbel Bas at the ceremony for German Unity Day. Federal President Steinmeier calls on the parties to work together on refugee policy. But before possible talks between the traffic light parties and the Union, tough conflicts over central questions are emerging. Dispute over work permits for asylum seekers When it comes to asylum policy, both the traffic light parties and the Union assert their willingness to undertake a major reform together, and Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier also called on all democratic parties to work together on refugee policy on Monday evening. But there are serious conflicts about what such an agreement should look like. The Union clearly rejects the latest demands from the traffic light to remove the remaining work bans for asylum seekers. “I cannot imagine the Union agreeing to the complete abolition of the work bans in a migration pact with the traffic light coalition,” said Thorsten Frei, the first parliamentary managing director of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. "You don't solve problems, you create new ones." Which asylum seekers are allowed to work depends on their status. They are not allowed to take up work for the first three months. After that, this is generally possible, but is at the discretion of the immigration authorities. If the asylum procedure has not been completed after nine months, you are usually entitled to a work permit. Recognized asylum seekers are also allowed to work without restrictions. However, the ban remains in effect if he or she comes from a safe country of origin such as Ghana or if someone conceals their identity, for example by providing false information about their origin. “We cannot lift the work bans for these two groups,” said Frei. The Green party leader in the Bundestag, Katharina Dröge, had called for all restrictions to be removed. “We finally need a complete abolition of the many still existing work bans for refugees. That makes sense and can be implemented in the short term,” Dröge told the newspapers of the Funke media group. For this, Dröge received support from the coalition partner FDP, which had recently attacked the Greens on the issue of asylum. For rapid integration into the labor market, it “makes sense to relax or lift existing employment bans,” FDP General Secretary Bijan Djir-Sarai told the SZ on Tuesday. Behind the dispute is the question of whether Germany will attract even more migrants than before through faster work permits - or whether this will relieve the burden on cities and municipalities because they have to spend fewer social benefits. Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) also spoke out on SWR in favor of more asylum seekers being able to work. However, he qualified: One should not confuse the issues of flight and persecution with labor immigration. Frei, however, said that a work permit for all refugees would undermine the goal of quickly returning rejected applicants to their homeland. "Asylum would then be the easiest way to find work in Germany." Employer President Rainer Dulger also warned against mixing the two paths, although company representatives have long complained about a shortage of workers. The immigration of workers is “the targeted search for people for work subject to social security contributions,” he said. Such immigration offers opportunities for companies. "When it comes to irregular migration, the population - and with them we employers - expect decisive action at national and European level." In view of the difficulties that are emerging, Federal President Steinmeier called for a willingness to compromise. He very much hopes that after the state elections in Hesse and Bavaria next Sunday, the democratic parties will "come to an understanding among themselves," he said on Monday evening on ARD. If refugee policy remains an eternal controversial issue, others would benefit from it, he said, without naming the AfD. "We need to limit access, there's no question about that." Four weeks ago, Chancellor Scholz proposed a “Germany Pact” to the Union to renew the country. The Chancellor primarily wants to promote the modernization of the infrastructure and faster planning processes, while the Union primarily wants to talk about immigration - an issue on which the CDU and CSU see themselves on the offensive against the divided coalition.