Migrationspolitik (Migration policy)
Migration policy regulates the administration and organisation of immigration and resettlement in Germany. It also applies to the domestic policy measures which govern aspects of every-day life and work for immigrants, such as the permits required for immigration, residence, employment and settlement.
The recruitment of migrant workers in the Federal Republic of Germany from 1955 onwards was not accompanied by long-term domestic policy measures, as it was assumed that migrants would be returning to their home countries. The state-imposed ban on recruitment in 1973 was followed by a more restrictive immigration policy, and formal incentives to encourage migrants to return home were also launched.
From the 1980s onwards, the number of asylum seekers in Germany and Europe increased. The reform of German asylum law marked the introduction of more stringent legislation pertaining to asylum seekers; from now on, the arrival route and an assessment of the situation in the country of origin were crucial for the acceptance or rejection of the asylum application.
In 1991, Germany's Immigration Act was reformed and a more sophisticated system of residence permit types with corresponding rights was introduced. In the late 1990s, new regulations entered into force, which brought about an improvement in the legal status of children born to foreign parents in Germany, making it easier for them to acquire German citizenship based on amended provisions on nationality.
In 2005, the new Immigration Act was finally adopted. Its provisions include a requirement for spouses joining their husbands or wives in Germany to demonstrate German language skills before arrival, and making integration measures, such as attendance at orientation and languages courses, mandatory.
Migration policy in Germany also reflects the Europeanisation of this policy area, mainly in the form of common border protection and harmonisation of asylum policy.