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Are migrants' representatives engaged in any formal consultation with public authorities?

Key Area:
Political & Civic Participation
25/01/2013 - 10:58
Short Answer


Qualitative Info

Foreigners as well as sometimes Germans with a migration background have the right to vote and stand as candidates in local elections of Integration or Foreigners’ (Advisory) Councils (Integrations-/Ausländerbeirat). In around 400 German cities, these councils have been established with their legal basis varying from Land to Land and even between municipalities. Their aim is to give migrants a voice in local politics. However, these councils solely have advisory powers and cannot make binding decisions. Next to the integration (advisory) councils, Integration Committees (Integrationsausschuss) also exist in some municipalities, being comprised of migrant representatives as well as elected council members. In NRW, the state introduced provisions for Integration Councils (Integrationsrat) to be established in municipalities with more than 5,000 non-German residents. These consist of elected migrant representatives and additional members of the city council. Alternatively, Integration Committees can be set up instead which have to consist of more city council members than other members due to reasons of democratic legitimacy. The reason these changes have been made in the institutional format of the Integration Committees and Councils is to bring migrants closer to the decision-making council, thus enhancing their political say. For example, single persons without German nationality are invited to attend committee/council meetings as “experts” due to their professional qualification (not their genuine ethnic identity). Thus they can build bridges between local authorities (who can act accordingly due to the knowledge they gain from the export on the immigrants’ wishes) and the immigrants.

In some Länder local Foreigners' Advisory Councils have joined together to form a working group that helps to coordinate and to support the local efforts. Except for the Foreigners' Advisory Councils of the federal states of Berlin, Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein, the other councils have together formed the Federal Council for Immigration and Integration (Bundeszuwanderungs- und Integrationsrat), which is in contact with the public authorities on the federal level.



  1. Bundeszuwanderungs- und Integrationsrat,, Accessed on 05.01.2012.
  2. Storz, H./ Wilmes, B., Politische Partizipation in der Kommune,,1,0,Politische_Partizipation_in_der_Kommune.html, Accessed on 13.01.2012.

  3. Peucker, Mario (2009): Racism, Xenophobia and Ethnic Discrimination in Germany – Update Report 2009, p. 35f.,, Accessed on 16.01.2012.

  4. Kommunale Integrationspolitik:, Accessed on 17.01.2013.

Groups affected/interested Migrants
Type (R/D)
Key socio-economic / Institutional Areas Political discourse -parties - orgs, Political participation, Integration - social cohesion
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