Merz criticizes the slow return of those who are obliged to leave the country

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, that doesn’t exist.”

Returns, i.e. mostly deportations, often fail due to practical obstacles such as missing identity papers. There is also often 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.

Merz speaks of acceptance

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 Repatriation of those who have no prospects in Germany.

Germany has long been an immigration country, “and we need many people who want to work with us,” said the Union faction leader. “There is a particular demand for skilled workers, from research to nursing.”

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 have 18 months to meet the requirements for long-term residence. This includes, for example, knowledge of German and securing your 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.

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