In the debate about more immigration of foreign skilled workers, CDU leader Friedrich Merz insists on bringing more rejected asylum seekers out of the country at the same time. There are currently around 300,000 people in Germany who are obliged to leave the country, he told the "Rheinische Post". "The federal government has promised the citizens a repatriation offensive. So far, there hasn't been one."
Returns, i.e. mostly deportations, often fail due to practical obstacles, such as missing identity papers. In many cases, there is also a lack of cooperation between the countries of origin, or there is a freeze on deportations - for example in Syria or Afghanistan.
In 2021, almost 165,000 asylum seekers were registered and 11,982 people were deported.
Regarding the sluggish return of migrants, Merz said: "Something has to change." The population's acceptance of immigrants, "which we need," will only be maintained if both are done: targeted immigration into the labor market and the repatriation of those who have no prospects in Germany.
Germany has long been an immigration country, "and we need a lot of people who want to work with us," said the Union faction leader. "There is a particular demand for skilled workers, from research to nursing."
Green parliamentary group leader attacks CDU
Meanwhile, the deputy leader of the Greens parliamentary group, Andreas Audretsch, criticizes the CDU for its course in the debate about making it easier for foreign skilled workers to immigrate. "The policy of the CDU is cold and exclusionary and at the same time a danger for Germany as a location," said Audretsch of the German Press Agency in Berlin.
In the Bundestag, for example, the CDU rejected the planned point system that is to be used to select non-EU citizens who are to be granted a right of residence to look for a job in Germany.
Audretsch addressed parliamentary group leader Merz directly and said he advised him "to talk less to the culture fighters of the Value Union and more to entrepreneurs". The Value Union is an organization that propagates conservative values. "Anyone who speaks to entrepreneurs knows how urgently Germany needs skilled workers," said Audretsch. However, Merz had "decided on an anti-business policy".
Ampel wants more prospects for immigrants
The right of residence planned by the traffic light coalition is intended to offer prospects to well-integrated foreigners who have been living in Germany for several years without a secure status. The previous practice of "chain tolerance" is to be ended. Anyone who has lived in the country for five years as of October 31, 2022 and has not committed a crime should be given 18 months to meet the requirements for long-term residence - this includes knowledge of German and securing their own livelihood.
The federal government also wants to lower the legal hurdles for naturalization and actively promote German citizenship among foreigners who have been living in Germany for a longer period of time.