4th Phase (1981–1998)

Shifting of jurisdiction over immigration policy from the economic to the regulatory.

1981 A turning point in immigration policy is introduced: Restriction on immigration from non-EU member states:
– restriction of spousal immigration
– restriction of child immigration to children 16 or under
– immigrant population in West Germany: 7.5%
1982 Promotion of voluntary return:
– immigrant return bonus
– provision of employee contributions to pension funds
– counsel for workers volunteering to return
1983 Law for the promotion of voluntary return.
1983–1989 Rise of immigrant population by 6%, from 4.5 million to 4.8 million.
1986 Increase in violence against refugees.
1987 Issue of asylum foregrounded in the parliamentary elections.


1990 Adoption of a new immigrant law (that essentially restricts immigration).
1992 Compromise on the issue of asylum: Definition of three kinds of temporary employees:
– contract employee (up to two years)
– guest worker (up to one year)
– seasonal worker (up to three months)
Germany takes in 312,000 new foreign workers. Percentage of immigrants in Germany: 8%.
1992/93 Sharp increase in violent acts against foreigners.
1993 Drop in employment: unemployment amongst foreign workers increases to 16.8% of population. 199,433 immigrants naturalized (in contrast to 24,744 in 1974).

Sources: The webpage of the Bundesbeauftragte für Migration, Flüchtlinge und Integration: http://www.integrationsbeauftragte.de/. Hisashi Yano, "Migrationsgeschichte," in Carmine Chielino, ed., Interkulturelle Literatur in Deutschland: ein Handbuch (Weimar: Metzler 2000).