2009 | 4(333) | 3-34
Article title

THE IMMIGRATION POLICY OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF GERMANY (Polityka imigracyjna Federalnej Republiki Niemiec)

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Contemporary Federal Republic of Germany is unarguably an immigrant state, German society being a vibrant multicultural conglomerate whose integral part are persons of immigrant descent. In spite of this, German immigration policy markedly departs from models implemented by classic immigrant states such as Canada or Australia. Many years the German administration refused to acknowledge that Germany was in fact an immigration state, thereby hampering the crystallization of a comprehensive immigration policy, which was substituted by summary regulations. Political efforts focused on limiting the wave of immigrants and exercising strict control of the access of foreigners to the German labor market. Germans did not respond in an adequate way to the problems of foreigners and were reluctant to recognize they were a multicultural society. Political praxis shaped a model of immigration in principle oriented towards short-term and rotational gainful immigration, which in consequence led to exclusion of foreigners from social and political life. The first immigration act that regulated the issue in a comprehensive way came into effect only fifty years after the signing of the first bilateral agreement on the recruitment of workforce in 1955. Deficits of immigration policy are evident in the phenomenon of 'parallel societies', meager acquisition of the German language by immigrants, conflicts on the labor market and in state schools as well as in invariably low rates of naturalization. In the face of negative demographic trends and an obvious shortage of specialists, the FRG is compelled to modify its by now obsolete immigration policy.
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  • Magdalena Szaniawska-Schwabe, Instytut Zachodni, Instytut Naukowo-Badawczy, ul. Mostowa 27, 61-854 Poznan, Poland
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