Although the reforms on immigration and integration caused

 Although the reforms on immigration and
integration caused much controversy in Germany in the 21st century,
credit must be given to the German government for enacting policy initiatives
in a manner that prevented prolonged political stalemate. This package of reforms
succeeded in changing how the discussions about integration was to be
conducted, with the focus being directed towards the positive effects to be
expected and the societal benefits of migrants. Following from the reforms
enacted in 2005, subsequent reforms have been implemented over the years,
including the ‘Law on the Transposition of European Union (EU) Directives,
August 2007’- where among other provisions, a temporary residence permit for
victims of human trafficking is introduced, ‘Labour Law, October 2007’ – where
restrictions for work in certain jobs in Germany are relaxed for citizens of
the Eastern European nations that joined the EU in 2004, ‘Citizenship
Regulation, July 2008’ – federally regulated and uniform citizenship tests are
implemented based on legislative reforms in 2007 (Süssmuth, 2009).

In
2001, the advocates for a reform bill saw a breakthrough, with the launch of a bill
that was to help modify the visa system, provide support for the initiation of
integration courses and also provide highly qualified third-country nationals employment
opportunities in Germany, among other provisions. The attempt at this
legislative reform was however thwarted as a national debate on German
identity, past immigration fiascos and misgivings about the scale of future
immigration ensued. Following from the wrangling on the scope of the changes being
advocated, the ‘Bundesrat’ in 2002, rejected
the reform package. This pushed the government to then start the legislative
process afresh. The generally-held consensus by fall of 2004 was that the integration
of the foreign-born population ranked higher on the public’s priority list, relative
to any labour migration policies being reformed. The deep-rooted misgivings
Germans had against labour migration could be partly attributed to the country’s
brief history with large-scale immigration. As much as Germans recognized that
immigration did not shape their history much like it did in the case of Canada
and the United States of America, they knew they had arrived at a pivotal point
where there is a general acknowledgement of the ethnic, cultural and linguistic
diversity present in Germany. The resultant reforms drawn up by the government in
2005 impacted the “Residence Law, Right of Asylum, Employment Ordinance and
Integration Course Ordinance” as cited by (Süssmuth, 2009). To expand on the
impact of the reforms; new migrants are mandated to take part in government-funded
integration courses (language skills acquisition, together with familiarizing with
the social and judicial system of the country); also they created and categorized
visas under just ‘temporary and permanent’  while the issuance of both residence and work permits
fell under the jurisdiction of only one government office; Regulations for
high-skilled immigrants are implemented as well as  granting international students the
opportunity to have their student visas extended for up to a year upon
completion of their studies so they can find employment; furthermore, people
can seek asylum in Germany on the grounds of facing persecution by nonstate
actors or based on their gender.

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Before
the year 2000, work involving the creation and implementation of measures that
promote integration of immigrants were the responsibility of employers, local
governments and civil-society organizations. This was because the political
will to tackle immigration integration was lacking. Although the government
availed funds for integration programs, no coherent national policies were in
place to secure a legal structure to match the immigration needs of Germany
(Süssmuth, 2009).

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