The visa affair is the name given by German newspapers to the controversy which arose in early 2005 over a change of procedure of issuing visas to foreign nationals seeking to enter Germany from Eastern European non-EU states. Apparently, the new visa policy, in place since 2000, willingly discarded essential safeguards against abuses such as illegal immigration and human trafficking in favour of speeding up the issuing process for tourist visas.The affair prompted the resignation of then responsible Minister of State Ludger Volmer of the Green party from his roles in the Bundestag foreign affairs committee and as foreign affairs spokesperson of his party and severely damaged.
The reputation of his party colleague, Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer. In 1999 the German embassy in Kiev, Ukraine alone issued more than 150,000 visas for Germany. Long queues formed in front of the embassy. Applicants reported that Ukrainian security personnel demanded DM 100 to 500 (50 – 250) from applicants to get ahead in the queue. At the beginning of 2000, the Minister of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ludger Volmer, issued a decree (known as Volmer’s Decree), which extended the powers of the individual embassies in deciding about visa applications. The decree aimed at making travel to Germany easier. When in doubt, the application was to be decided in favour of the applicant.
At the same time, visa applications directly at travel agencies were introduced. This regulation was opposed by the Federal Bundes grenzschutz (Border Guard) as well as by the Bundes kriminalamt (Federal Crime Agency), because they feared that it would also lead to easier migration into Germany for criminals. They cited a criminal court decision against the manager of a travel agency who organized illegal migration into Germany. The tourists went underground, became prostitutes or left Germany for other countries of the European Union.
June 2,2005:The Commission of Inquiry was adjourned today after a short session of only 30 minutes. The commission called an end to the hearing of evidence with the majority of its SPD/The Greens members. CDU and FDP on the other hand are likely to appeal to the Constitutional Court should this matter be dropped permanently. Some ministers, who were due to appear before the commission (e.g.Otto Schily was summoned for 8 July; or others like Frank-Walter Steinmeier of the Federal Chancellory), will not be questioned according to today’s events. Apparently, the work of the commission is cut short by the widely anticipated call for a General Election in late summer (most probably on 18 September 2005).
Illegal immigrants expose themselves to dangers while engaged in illegal entry to another country. Aside from the possibility that they may be intercepted and deported, some considerably more dangerous outcomes have been known to result from their activity. As an example, illegal immigrants may been trafficked for exploitation. The chief cause of illegal immigration is considered to be economic. Illegal immigrants in the United States traditionally have been portrayed as seeking jobs and wages better than those available in their home countries. For example, the 1994 economic crisis in Mexico was associated with widespread poverty and a lower valuation for the peso relative to the dollar.
The United States Department of Labor calculates that the Zone A (most industrialized) minimum wage in Mexico in 1999 was 34.45 pesos, or about US$ 3.50 per day.The Zone C (rural/agricultural) minimum wage was 29.70 Pesos a day, or roughly US dollor 3.02 a day.By contrast, the U.S. minimum is set at $ 5.85 per hour under U.S. federal law, and many states require rates higher than the federally mandated minimum. Natural disasters and overpopulation can amplify poverty-driven migration flows.
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