New German Immigration Law Effective January 1, 2005

Happy New Year to readers of LawPundit!

Germany’s changed laws on foreigners go into effect at the start of the New Year. (English downloads: Immigration Act download – Federal Law Gazette Volume 2004, Part I, No. 41, issued in Bonn on 5 August 2004, Act to Control and Restrict Immigration and to Regulate the Residence and Integration of EU Citizens and Foreigners (Immigration Act) of 30 July 2004: Immigration Act details [summary] download, Berlin, 18 June 2004, Details of the Immigration Act.)

Since nearly 7 and 1/2 million foreigners live in Germany, this is an important topic not only for those living here and for those yet to come, but also for the world political scene in general. In a world of 6 billion people and climbing, immigration problems are approaching a global scale.

English Language Materials

The German Deutsche Welle reports – in English – that the “First German Immigration Law Takes Effect” on January 1, 2005.

The German Federal Ministry of the Interior has an informative statement in English about the new Immigration Act entitled “The new Immigration Act: The next step following the updated Nationality Act”.

An English-language legal analysis of the new Immigration Law in detail is found in the article “The New German Immigration Act” by Neil G. McHardy of McHardy Börschel & Partner at the website of AILA (American Immigration Lawyers Association).

An analysis of this law in English is also found at the website of the Goethe-Institut, where it is written in general about the law:

“The Act provides that the immigration and residence of foreigners in Germany should be regulated by an overall policy on migration. This primarily means that skilled foreigners can enter in line with the interests of the economy and the labour market; it also means that the entry and residence of unskilled foreigners will be controlled and restricted to a greater extent than has been the case to date. Foreigners who have no right of residence in Germany will be sent back to their home countries; foreigners who decide to remain in Germany for a longer period must make greater efforts to integrate, for example, by demonstrating a knowledge of German. At the same time, the federal government, the regional states (Länder) and the municipalities must provide integration services. Furthermore, Germany will continue to offer refuge to those subject to political persecution and those in need of protection for other reasons.

Issues of domestic security will be particularly important. In view of the growing threat of global terrorism, the Act provides for swifter and more effective action to be taken against foreigners suspected of being members of terrorist associations.”

See also:

– The English language analysis of the new German law at the site of Rechtsanwältin (attorney) Svenja Schmidt-Bandelow, at the end of which she links to important related German language sites.

– “Migration : Germany” by Antonella C. Attardo PhD (History of Law), Italy at

– “Immigration Act: The Road is Clear” by Gunter Hofmann at Deutschland Online

Migration Information Source (“New German Law Skirts Comprehensive Immigration Reform” by Rainer Münz, Hamburg Institute of International Economics, August 1, 2004)

German Embassy in Washington D.C.

German Language Materials

As reported in German by the German Ministry of Interior in “Schily: Zuwanderungsgesetz bringt viele Verbesserungen”, the new Immigration Law (Zuwanderungsgesetz) replaces the old Law on Aliens (Ausländergesetz), also known as the Aliens Act:

“Am 1. Januar 2005 tritt das Zuwanderungsgesetz in Kraft. Es wurde am 9. Juli 2004 vom Bundesrat nach einem fast dreijährigen Gesetzgebungsverfahren verabschiedet. Gleichzeitig tritt das alte Ausländergesetz außer Kraft.”

See also the German language pages at:


Ravensburger Nachrichten

Auswärtiges Amt

Handelskammer Hamburg