The German newspaper whose web site is now marginally better organized reports that Germany will offer a legal means to regularize the residence status of people who have lived in the country for several years without having, shall we say, dotted all the i’s and crossed all the t’s at the local immigration office. State governments have also agreed to give some preference in civil service hiring to people from immigrant backgrounds. The federal change had been agreed to by the current grand coalition, and the agreement of the states obviously includes those with governments of many different stripes.
This is all to the good. Every step that has been taken away from the late Kohl government’s position that “Germany is not a destination for immigration” has been a step in the right direction. In recent years, the number of German citizens has held steady mainly because of people taking on citizenship, as deaths continue to outpace births. The head-in-the-sand view that there aren’t immigrants in Germany is steadily retreating to the margins, and rightly so. (In practice, according to the newspaper, the new regulation affects about 100,000 people who have been denied asylum over the years.)
One criterion is that the foreigner should not “have come into serious conflict with German laws.” I hope they don’t mean like this or this. On the other hand, Americans and Australians are apparently exempt from the language requirement for getting residence permits for family members. Jawohl, fair dinkum, guys.