Well-integrated foreigners who are only tolerated in Germany should be given the opportunity to obtain a permanent residence permit. The Bundestag passes a corresponding draft law - against the votes of the Union.
With the votes of the traffic light coalition, the Bundestag passed the so-called right of residence - after a heated exchange of blows with Union politicians. Foreigners who have been tolerated in Germany for five years are given the right to an 18-month opportunity to stay. The new law should give people the opportunity to meet the necessary requirements for legal residence in the meantime. According to the government, around 136,000 people are affected. Tolerated persons do not have a residence permit, their deportation is merely suspended.
Prerequisites for the granting of the right of residence are German language skills and a secure livelihood. Criminals and people who hide their identity to avoid deportation are excluded. If the requirements for the granting of a residence permit are not met after the 18-month period of residence, those affected should revert to the status of toleration. 371 MPs voted for the coalition's draft law. 226 MPs voted against, 57 abstained.
The Union accused the traffic light coalition of rewarding rejected asylum seekers who had not contributed to clarifying their identity for years. In the end, they would be better off than honest foreigners who disclosed their identity and could therefore be deported more easily. Andrea Lindholz from the CSU said it would be better to focus "on those who are really entitled to protection". There are already enough exceptions and pragmatic solutions for well-integrated long-term tolerated persons.
SPD domestic politician Helge Lindh said that many people wanted to settle and integrate in Germany was "a compliment for this country". The domestic policy spokesman for the SPD parliamentary group, Sebastian Hartmann, called for it to be time to end the "cramped immigration and asylum policy". His parliamentary colleague Adis Ahmetovic reported on his own difficult time as a tolerated person. He said the Opportunity Residence Permit is "a sign of fairness, participation, recognition and respect." There are also many companies in the constituencies of many Union MPs where people work who could benefit from the new regulation, said the Green migration expert Filiz Polat.
In principle, the draft law adheres to the fact that a residence permit should only be granted if the identity has been clarified. However, it also offers this possibility if a foreigner has "taken the necessary and reasonable measures for identity clarification".
Interior Minister Nancy Faeser explained: "We are ending the previous practice of chain tolerance. In doing so, we are also ending the often years of insecurity for people who have long since become part of our society."