Migration News Sheet Summary July 2006
Issued on 05/07/2006
This issue includes reports on the family reunion directive action by the European Parliament, the new price tag on the Schengen visa, the amnesty debate in the UK and plans to revise the aliens law in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France and Italy
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MNS Summary July 2006
The July 2006 issue reports on the European Court of Justice's eagerly awaited ruling on the family reunion directive, which was challenged by the European Parliament. Contrary to its Advocate General, the Court of Justice declared the application admissible, but eventually dismissed it because the reasons put forward were deemed to be unfounded.
Other EU developments include: the EU-USA summit in Vienna where the European Commission made a steep climb-down from its loud rhetoric of taking retaliatory measures against the USA for applying a two-tier visa policy towards EU nationals; the formal adoption of the Decision to apply a hefty increase of the Schengen visa application fee; the outlines of the so-called bold plan to combat irregular migration from Africa, to be adopted on 10 July 2006; EU Member States' assistance offered to Spanish authorities to help it cope with irregular migration from Africa.
The other major European development concerns the adoption of the report by Dick MARTY on the allegations of secret CIA-run prisons and so-called extraordinary renditions, a euphemism for unlawful abductions, as well as two other reports on the same issue, drawn up by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe and the European Parliament, respectively.
National news items cover a very vast array of topics. On migration policy, there are the debates on revising the aliens law in Belgium, Denmark, France and Italy, as well as in Austria but the proposal put forward there of expelling long-term unemployed foreigners is meant more to be a election campaign publicity-making exercise than a serious legislative proposal.
As for irregular migration, reporting continues on developments, which have been going on for several months in Belgium, France, Malta and Spain. In Spain, the Government has been criticised for making financial (small) payments to repatriated African irregular migrants.
There is also information on would-be Chinese irregular migrants making use of Switzerland as a country of transit and the vast debate sparked off in the UK after the new junior Immigration Minister affirmed that he would not rule out, without having all the facts, an amnesty for irregular migrants.
In the section on asylum and refugees, some of the articles concern:
In Belgium: the on-going protests and hunger strikes by rejected asylum-seekers and irregular migrants.
In Denmark: the complaint by a pressure group against the Danish Red Cross for the alleged maltreatment of rejected Roma asylum-seekers in reception centres.
In Finland: resumption of expulsion of rejected Congolese asylum-seekers.
In Germany: regional authorities confronted with growing numbers of rejected asylum-seekers with strong humanitarian grounds to stay, which is an inevitable consequence of the absence of a rule enabling residence permits to be issued to long-stay asylum-seekers; Hamburg to start expelling rejected asylum-seeking Afghan families.
In Malta: calls for monitoring of conditions in detention centres.
In the Netherlands: fate of the group of some 26,000 rejected asylum-seekers who have been "targeted for expulsion".
In Norway: end to Afghan hunger strike action; disclosure by the Immigration Directorate on the number of residence permits to be issued this year to refugees and asylum-seekers.
In Spain: refugee status granted to two Falun Gong members;
In Sweden: permanent protection granted to Chechens who previously benefited from temporary asylum; provisional data on outcome of temporary asylum law (amnesty); cases against parents of apathetic children prove to be unfounded.
In Switzerland: Bill regulating measures to be used throughout the country when carrying out forced repatriation; Appeals Board grants refugee status to an asylum-seeker fleeing persecution by a private militia army; acquittal of a priest for offering shelter to rejected asylum-seekers.
In the UK: High Court judge criticises control orders on six Iraqi asylum-seekers; rejected Algerian asylum-seeker accepts voluntary repatriation to flee from "inhumane" treatment in the UK.
In the section on racism, the situation in Russia is again covered on account of yet another racist murder and the arrest of more neo-nazi youths. Included in this section is also a report on the strong indignation expressed by the Swiss section of SOS Racisme after the conviction for slander of a black woman who suggested that her arrest and strip-search for not having a bus ticket could have been explained by the colour of her skin.
Miscellaneous other items include: