Agreement on the Immigration Act (June 17, 2004)
After a lengthy legislative process – one that generated controversial discussion in the Bundestag and Bundesrat as well as among the general public – the new Immigration Act was finally passed on June 30, 2004. The Immigration Act fundamentally reformed the Aliens Act; its most important components were the Residence Act and the EU Act on the General Freedom of Movement for EU Citizens. With the passing of this new law, Germany’s status as an immigration country was acknowledged for the first time. This photograph shows Federal Interior Minister Otto Schily (SPD) (middle of picture) and Bavarian Minister President Edmund Stoiber (CSU) (right) during a press briefing at the conclusion of the negotiations on the Immigration Act. Thomas Steg, deputy press secretary of the federal government, can be seen on the left. The Immigration Act took effect on January 1, 2005. In March 2007, it was reformed once again. Among other reasons, the 2007 reform was undertaken to bring German national law into compliance with new EU guidelines on residence and asylum law. Photo: Jürgen Gebhardt.