Migration News Sheet Summary September 2008
Issued on 25/09/2008
Metock' ruling and repercussions of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) concerning the right of EU nationals living in another Member State to be joined by family members who are third country nationals; the lead judgment of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) concerning Tamils under threat of deportation from the UK, which has become final
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MNS Summary September 2008
EU-related developments include the continuing discussions at the Council on the European Commission's Blue Card proposal; Washington's demand that visa-free travellers to the USA be required to seek prior authorisation before embarkation; strong opposition to the European's proposed Directive to harmonise sanctions on employers for hiring unlawfully staying third-country nationals; and the Cypriot Government's response to the European Commission's criticism that not enough is being done to tackle irregular migration.
Regarding migration policies and developments on the national level, there are articles covering the new Czech Bill for the introduction of a system of skilled "guest workers"; the noticeable increase in immigration in Denmark in spite of tough laws; the recruitment of more Spanish workers in France for the grape harvest; the easing of skilled labour recruitment in Germany; the controversial emergency measures in Italy aimed at combating criminality and illegal migration; the question of whether Kosovars are eligible for full Schengen visas; proposed greater protection in the Netherlands for victims of domestic violence; proposed new voluntary repatriation plan presented in Spain for unemployed third-country workers; the House of Lords' criticisms of measures introduced in the UK to combat marriages of convenience; and proposed introduction of tougher measures in the UK to combat abuse of foreign student status, including the taking of fingerprints.
The section on irregular migration continues to cover the situation in Belgium where an amnesty agreed upon by members of the governing coalition more than six months ago has still not been implemented.
Other countries covered include: the Czech Republic where fraudulent paternity claims have been used to gain a residence permit; France whose detention conditions of irregular migrants and asylum-seekers have been strongly criticised by the UN Human Rights Committee and where detention centres have been set on fire by protesting inmates; the island of Mayotte in the Indian Ocean which risks becoming a magnet for irregular migrants wishing to establish themselves in France; southern Italy which is becoming overwhelmed by the continuing influx of irregular migrants by sea in spite of much tougher measures in place; Spain, together with Mauritania and Morocco, on the problems of irregular migration and deaths at sea; the UK where some 3,000 blank passports and visa vignettes have been stolen.
There is also an article covering the visit to the Dominican Republic by Spain's deputy Prime Minister who assured that the EU's so-called return Directive would not be applied to Latin Americans living in her country.
On protection issues, the main articles of interest include the UNHCR's criticisms of Germany's "systematic" revocation of refugee status, particularly in the case of Iraqis; Oslo's decision to adopt a tougher asylum policy; the very sharp increase in the number of rejected asylum-seekers going into hiding in Sweden; criticisms and High Court challenge of detention of children of asylum-seekers in the UK.
This section also covers the Czech Government's concern about the rising number of Czech nationals, essentially of Roma origin, who seek asylum in Canada; the UNHCR's criticisms of reception conditions of asylum-seekers in Hungary; the resettlement of Palestinian refugees in Iceland and Sweden; the growing number of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children arriving on Italy's southernmost island of Lampedusa; the major drowning tragedy off the coast of Malta which could have claimed the lives of up to 70 asylum-seekers; the suspicion of the Swedish Migration Board that some Iraqis apply for asylum merely to take advantage of the repatriation grant; increasing concern by Swiss NGOs about new admissibility procedure for asylum at airports.
The section on discrimination includes two noteworthy developments: one in Portugal concerning a judge who made derogatory remarks about the Roma community to explain the criminal behaviour of five men, and the other, in southern Sweden where a cleaning firm faces a lawsuit for dismissing a Muslim female employee who refused to wear trousers to work.
Miscellaneous items include articles on: the continuing legal battle of Muslim groups in Denmark against those responsible for the Mohammed cartoons; the possibility of a Danish publisher taking responsibility for the publication of a controversial book about the Prophet Mohammed; the controversy surrounding the building of a mosque in the German city of Cologne; the rejection by a Dutch court of a complaint lodged by a Muslim man denied a job because he refused to shake hands with women; the increasing number of children denied Norwegian citizenship because of their parents' uncertain identities; a Norwegian mayor's satisfaction with the Somali inhabitants of his town; the proposal in Spain to grant third-country nationals the right to vote in local elections provided that there is reciprocity on the part of their home country.