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Migrants in refugee housing in Germany
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/W. Kumm

SPD to propose new immigration draft law

May 26, 2016

Germany's SPD has unveiled plans for a new law to "better control" the immigration of skilled workers. The news follows the approval of a new integration law which seeks to ease access to the labor market for refugees.


Germany's Social Democratic Party (SPD) intends to put forth a draft law on immigration this autumn, one of the party's leaders confirmed on Thursday.

"For refugees who are looking for work and a better life, the asylum process is not the right way," Thomas Oppermann, parliamentary leader of the SPD, told German newspaper Rheinische Post.

The new law, therefore, would seek to "better control the immigration of skilled workers" into the country.

The new law would be beneficial to Germany's "economic interests," argued Oppermann as there are currently more people retiring from the labor market in Germany than there are entering it.

He said channeling skilled laborers into the country could help fill those gaps.

Admittedly, Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) - and the SPD's senior coalition partner - are currently "refusing" the proposed bill.

Criticism also came from the opposition. The parliamentary leader of the Left party, Sarah Wagenknecht, called the proposal a "foolish project." In comments to the German newspaper group Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland, she warned that such an immigration law would exacerbate wage competition.

Integration law

On Wednesday, Merkel announced that her coalition government agreed on Germany's first-ever integration law which would ease labor rules for migrants in exchange for certain duties like learning German.

The bill, however, does not regulate the immigration of refugees.

Nevertheless, Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel - who also heads the SPD - hailed the draft law as a "first step" towards a new immigration law.

The integration law seeks to provide migrants with better access to the German job market along with the creation of government-funded jobs for migrants. The package, however, includes stipulations requiring refugees to attend integration courses or face benefit cuts.

Germany's parliament is set to discuss and vote on the law in July.

rs/kms (AFP, dpa)

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