Expert on migration

Immigration country Germany: a council of experts advises the government. Get to know here its chairwoman: Petra Bendel.

Petra Bendel, Chairwoman of the SVR since 2019
Petra Bendel, Chairwoman of the SVR since 2019 Nico Tavalai

The federal government is advised in many important areas concerning Germany by experts from science and research. We introduce you to the most important persons and committees. Here Professor Petra Bendel, Chair of the German Expert Council on Integration and Migration (SVR).

Petra Bendel, a professor at Germany's tenth-largest university, the Friedrich Alexander University (FAU) in Nuremberg/Erlangen, studied Romance languages, English and political science in Heidelberg. In 2008, she completed her habilitation at FAU with a thesis on European migration policy. Like many other top academics, Bendel's days seem to be longer than those of other people, at least when one looks at the multitude of her engagements. There is hardly a major advisory or expert body on migration in Germany which she has not served on – beginning with the SVR.

We need more regularized channels of immigration.

Petra Bendel, Chairwoman of the SVR

Politically, Bendel has a clear opinion on immigration. "Germany is an immigration country”, she says. “The fact that we can read this sentence in a coalition agreement makes us very happy: it was overdue". Bendel also sees the new government's efforts to achieve greater equality of opportunity and better integration as positive; in many places, she remarks, demands of the Expert Council on Integration and Migration is being taken up. These pertain to the importance of comprehensive diversity strategies and support for disadvantaged school children. As for refugees, they should have access to language courses and the labour market, even if their residence status has not yet been decided. "We need a package of interlocking measures”, says Bendel: “sustainable action to combat the causes of flight, more regularized immigration channels of immigration, [...] a secure border regime based on refugee rights".

The official government advisory body since 2021

Since 2021, Bendel's opinion and that of the Council of Experts, which was established in 2008, has carried even more weight: since then, the Council has been an official advisory body to the German government. Although it is now funded by the government, the SVR remains an independent, interdisciplinary body of experts. It advises policymakers, recommends specific actions, and provides factual information to the public on the topic of migration and integration. Once a year, the nine experts publish their annual report and assess current developments. But even though the SVR's role is very important, “integration”, says Bendel, “is a task for society as a whole and concerns all citizens".

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