Since the early 2000s, German politics has increasingly acknowledged that Germany has become a country of immigration. In addition, integration measures have been gaining momentum over the last ten years. For the independent Council of Immigration ("Zuwanderungsrat") in 2004, migration researchers Klaus J. Bade and Michael Bommes defined integration as "the measurable participation of all people in the key areas of social life, namely child raising, education, training, the job market, the legal system and social matters, including political participation."
The incipient paradigm shift, which is increasingly expanding the conception of integration into society as a whole, should now also be evident in integration policy. Integration policy needs to develop integration incentives and sanctioning mechanisms for all of society – a society that, since the 2000s, has been trying to define itself as a society shaped by immigration. Integration thus becomes a political rather than a personal obligation. As political scientist and migration researcher Dietrich Thränhardt noted in 2008, there is increasingly a "far-reaching consensus on the need for integration and government aid for integration, including the fundamental realization that not only immigrants but also society must play a part."
Specific integration efforts can and must continue to be offered to new immigrants, such as new political measures to promote an immigrant-friendly culture of welcome ("Willkommenskultur"). But beyond that, approaches to integration should provide access to limited material and immaterial resources such as education, livelihood, income and social recognition for all citizens to the extent that systematic inequalities based on social, religious, cultural or national status no longer exist. That is why migration researcher Klaus J. Bade together with the Rat für Migration (Council on Migration) and the association DeutschPlus have called for integration policy to be removed from the Ministry of Interior's jurisdiction and instead made the responsibility of labor and social affairs.
This text is part of the policy brief Interner Link: Integration in a Post-Migrant Society.