Posted by: Singh Is King | Thursday, December 6, 2007

Punjab migration worries Germany

There is massive immigration pressure from Punjab and about 5,000 individuals are refused visa every year on the grounds of forged or improper documentation. Germany appreciates that a restrictive visa regime does not go hand in hand with strategic partnership but it has its own compulsions. It does not want immigrants to come in only to enjoy the social benefits paid for by a German tax-payer.

Germany will prefer a readmission agreement so that illegals can be identified and repatriated, India’s The Asian Age newspaper reported quoting diplomatic sources. “Some kind of arrangement would be helpful, then at least there is a chance to send unwanted people back,” a German diplomatic source said. The German diplomatic sources referred an arrangement between India and the United Kingdom, whereby the Indian authorities help the UK in identifying immigrants, to state that Germany wants to put in place a similar mechanism with India.The issue is likely to be discussed during German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s first visit to India next week. She will visit New Delhi and Mumbai on her four-day state visit starting from October 29. Germany joins a chorus of countries seeking a mechanism to regulate illegal immigration from India. The European Union and Russia have in the past made similar suggestions to New Delhi.

A size-able number of illegal immigrants are living in Germany today who are profiting from the system of social benefits and burdening the financial liability of the agencies dealing with this system, the sources explained. They clarified that Germany does not have a problem if the immigrants conform to rules or are willing to return to India but unskilled people should not come in only because of the social benefits that are offered.

“Germany and certain other countries are facing a shortage of qualified workers like engineers and would really like to attract intellectual potential so that they can make a contribute to national innovation and strength,” the source added.

According to the sources, immigration and visa are hotly debated issues in Germany today. “There is a debate raging on,” a source said, before going on to cite the arguments put forth by the pro- and anti-immigration groups. Trade unions want Germany to exercise caution in opening up its borders to foreign labour when the unemployment rate is at nine per cent. Others argue that the more intellectual potential Germany attracts, the better it will be for the country.

The International Organization for Migration has said that India is among the top three migrant-sending countries. The United Nations office on drugs and crime, in turn, says that many of the illegal immigrants hail from Punjab.


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