This Working Paper illustrates 50 years of migration towards Germany, focusing particularly on processes of migration policy-making at different institutional levels of governance: the Bundesrepublik (Nation state), the Laender (Regions) and the Gemeinden (municipalities). Within this approach, the Paper identifies the differentactors involved, from governmental and non-governmental backgrounds, andinvestigates their contribution to policy-making in the field of migration andintegration. This particular perspective allows for two key insights into theprocesses of migration and policy-making in Germany: the historical consistency ofin-migration to the country (guest workers, displaced persons, ethnic Germans andfamily reunion) and Germany’s long-lasting view of itself as a non-immigrationcountry, which resulted in the absence of a comprehensive national migrationpolicy up till the new millennium.In reality, throughout its history Germany has been a typical immigrationcountry, actively recruiting foreign nationals for labour purposes. The focus offoreign labour employment shifted from agriculture in the Prussian era, to theindustrial sector in WWII. As a consequence of the world economic crises of the1970s a halt on recruitment was imposed. But in contrast to the prevailing opinion,there was no enforcement of the rotation scheme. Instead, the halt on recruitmentwas repeatedly punctuated by exceptions in subsequent years.This example, i.e. the need for foreign labour, the denial of this on anofficial level and the obvious bypassing of officialdom, illustrates one structuralpattern of migration policy-making in Germany that this Working Paper highlights:the reluctance to formulate policy on a national level, and the developments andneeds in local situations which put pressure on local government and associationsfor innovative concepts and independent strategies able to tackle specificmigration-related challenges. From this perspective, the paper contributes toaddressing the significant gap between migration policy-making on the one hand,and empirical evidence on the other hand. It reveals the multitude of policymakingarenas that exist at different levels of society and offers new insight intopolicy-making and outputs.
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