chapter  7
Ethnic minorities
Crime and criminal justice in Europe
ByHans-Jörg Albrecht
Pages 17

Deep concern for the problem of foreign and ethnic minorities in relation to criminal justice exists today in virtually all European countries. Everywhere, substantial numbers of people with an ethnic background differing from that of the society at large have settled down. It seems obvious that the concept of the Gastarbeiter (migrant worker or guestworker), which has been used in some countries to avoid the effects and costs of immigration and permanent settlement, is no longer appropriate to the current situation of ethnic minorities. Those Gastarbeiter obviously did not come to the host country for short periods of time in order to supply labour but stayed on a permanent basis and most importantly, brought their families with them. Consequently about 60 per cent of foreigners living in the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) have done so for more than ten years. Gastarbeiter, according to the official policies of, for example, Austria, FRG, Switzerland and France, should have helped to meet short-and middle-term demand for personnel during the economic boom of the 1960s. Their legal status (as far as other than EC citizens are concerned) is in some respects different from that of nationals (for a complete summary covering the European Community see Just and Groth 1985:82-111). For example, they are not allowed to vote or to be elected, they may not hold positions in the Civil Service and, most importantly, in general, they have no permanent right of residence but have only limited permits. Although most countries in Europe have set up severe restrictions to immigration in the 1980s and some have implemented programmes designed to provide incentives for foreigners to re-emigrate to their respective home countries, the situation

is not likely to change (Körner and Mehrländer 1986:15-63). Gastarbeiter today are not temporary migrant workers but immigrant populations (Heckmann 1983).