Germany passes new migration package to better regulate deportations

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BERLIN, June 7 (Xinhua) -- With 372 against 159 votes, the German Bundestag passed a law introducing many changes to migration in Germany on Friday.

With the new law, the governing parties of the Union and SPD are extending the rights of the German police and immigration authorities so that fewer deportations fail.

Last year "about 8,000 repatriations failed simply because the person obliged to leave the country was not present on the day of deportation", deputy faction leader of the CDU/CSU Thorsten Frei told the German agency (dpa) before the final vote on Friday.

"In order to counteract the mass disappearance of those obliged to leave the country, the requirements for detention will now be significantly lowered", Frei added.

Among other things, the law passed will introduce sanctions against rejected asylum seekers who declare a false identity or who thwart the acquisition of travel documents by German authorities.

"An obligation to leave the country must be followed by an actual departure," Germany's Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) said.

The Left and Greens voted against the law and accused the SPD of having chosen this bill for reasons of power calculation and against their own convictions. Filiz Polat of the Greens called the passing of the law a "black day for democracy".

The Social Democrats, however, were happy with their influence on the final migration package. "Mass arrests and other inhumane things no longer appear in the law because we prevented it," Lars Klingbeil, SPD general secretary, told the newspaper Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung on Friday.

With the parliamentary votes of the CDU/CSU, the SPD but also the populist AfD, a regulation obliging refugees to live in a certain place was also extended. The so-called Integration Act, which was originally running until August 2019, is primarily designed to prevent the emergence of neighborhoods in Germany that are almost exclusively populated by migrants.

Following the turbulence triggered by the European parliamentary elections, the new migration package by the governing "grand coalition" of CDU/CSU and SPD was proving the government was "capable of action", deputy faction leader Frei commented.

"For the first time, the German labor market will also be comprehensively opened for skilled workers with vocational training," Frei added.

To counter the falling supply of labor caused by an aging population, the German economy required at least 260,000 skilled immigrant workers per year by 2060, a recent study by the Bertelsmann Foundation found.

In a European comparison, however, Germany is well positioned to attract international skilled workers. According to the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), 85 percent of all EU Blue Cards issued last year were for Germany.

"Despite a weaker economy, many companies are desperately looking for suitable personnel. With this law, the federal government is now opening up new opportunities for companies to hire qualified workers from all over the world," Eric Schweitzer, president of the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK), told Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland (RND). Enditem

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