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New right to stay law 'insufficient'

July 5, 2015

The head of a German employers' group has criticized a reform of the law regarding the right of asylum seekers to stay in the country. He says refugees in Germany needed still more legal security.

Somalian man working alongside German worker. Photo: Patrick Pleul
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/P. Pleul

The head of the German Employers' Associations (BDA), Ingo Kramer, told Sunday paper "Welt am Sonntag" that the amendments approved by the German parliament, or Bundestag, on Thursday were "insufficient to remove legal uncertainties for refugees beginning work training and the companies training them."

"It is still not guaranted that young refugees cannot be deported during their training," he told the paper.

The reforms passed by the Bundestag allow foreigners that are "tolerated" - meaning that their deportation has been temporarily suspended - to remain in Germany for a longer period if they have mastered German and can pay their own way. However, they also make it possible to deport people who have no prospects of receiving full residency rights more quickly than was previously the case.

Ingo Kramer
Ingo Kramer represents Germany's employersImage: picture-alliance/dpa

The amendents still need approval by Germany's upper chamber, the Bundesrat, to beome law.

Unused potential

In the interview published on Sunday, Kramer called on the government to give "tolerated" refugees across the country secure rights to remain in Germany during the entire period of training "so that more young refugees can make the jump into training and be successfully integrated in Germany."

He said asylum seekers should be able to finish training even if legal obstacles to their deportation had been removed, and that the age limit of 21 should be removed.

However, Kramer welcomed the fact that the German government wanted to make it easier for asylum seekers and "tolerated" foreigners to become integrated.

"Among the rapidly growing number of people who are fleeing to Germany from war and expulsion, there are many young people who are ready and often especially motivated to do training in Germany and receive further education," he said.

Kramer's comments echo the sentiments of many people in the German business community who feel that asylum seekers represent largely untapped potential for the country's labor market in a situation where many apprenticeship positions remain vacant.

In May, the head of Germany's association of skilled manual workers (ZDH), Hans Peter Wollseifer, called for asylum seekers to be given the right to three years' training with subsequent employment, saying "being a refugee is not a profession."

tj/ng (epd, dpa)