Germany should allow migrants from Africa to pay a cash deposit to obtain temporary German work visas, a panel of migrations experts proposed in a report published Tuesday, a measure they argue would reduce illegal migration to the EU.
In its latest annual report, the Expert Council of German Foundations on Integration and Migration (SVR) suggested such a policy would allow migrants from Africa to work temporarily in Germany, where they could save money and gain skills and contacts, while also incentivising them to return home when their visas expire. All individuals who leave Germany on time would receive their deposit back.
‘Such a visa would allow the controlled immigration of employees without formal qualifications,’ said SVR expert Panu Poutvaara. ‘At the same time, it would be an instrument for cooperating with African governments.’
In the report, the group of nine experts argued the system would benefit African states because, once home, migrants could use their savings and new contacts to start companies, enter the workforce or invest in agriculture.
A clearer picture of migration
Migration to Germany from Africa is much more diverse than the stereotypical image of migrants adrift in the Mediterranean Sea, the experts said.
People also immigrate for professional purposes, to receive education and training, as well as because of family or marriage, the panel’s chairwoman Petra Bendel explained. Many ignore the fact that African countries are themselves often a main destination for many immigrants, she said. Some of these countries are world leaders in terms of the number of refugees they take in.
‘In Germany and Europe, we lack an understanding for the migration activity within and out of Africa,’ Bendel said. ‘But only through a solid inventory of the situation will it be possible to shape migration together.’
Thinking beyond border controls
The panel called for Germany and other EU countries to look for new ways to cooperate with African countries on migration, saying Germany should use its role as president of the Council of the European Union at the end of 2020 to this end.
The German government should also make sure the country’s new law regarding the immigration of skilled labour is also applied to immigrants from African countries, Bendel said.
‘The politics of migration are more than border controls,’ Bendel said.
The SVR is a non-partisan, interdisciplinary advisory council of experts who research and provide policy advice on issues of migration and integration in Germany. The council publishes its latest findings in a yearly report.