German policy package on migration: What will change for asylum seekers and migrants?

German policy package on migration: What will change for asylum seekers and migrants?


The German government today approved a bundle of measures to make it easier to integrate –

and deport –


The seven laws are a mixture of softer measures, like easier immigration and better job opportunities, and tougher deportation rules. InfoMigrants explains what the laws mean for refugees, asylum seekers and migrants in Germany.

What will change for asylum seekers?

  • Some asylum seekers will receive a little more money: Henceforward, singles and single parents receive €150 per month (up from €135). Caveat: asylum seekers living in shared accommodation (“Gemeinschaftsunterkunft”) will be treated as living with a partner, thus receiving €136 (up from €122)
  • Single adults may live in reception facilities for up to 18 months. That’s three times longer than before. Before, they were distributed to municipalities after six months.
  • People from so-called safe countries of origin and those who “disguise” their identities (“Identitätsfälscher”) can stay even longer in the big facilities. Shorter deadlines apply to families.
  • The so-called residency obligation rule (“Wohnsitzauflage”) will not be abolished, meaning that states applying the rule can continue to require asylum seekers and recognized refugees to living within the community where they are registered.

What will change for people slated for deportation?

The ‘Orderly Return Law’ (“Geordnete-Rückkehr-Gesetz”) is to make it harder for rejected asylum seekers to avoid deportation by reducing the barriers to imposing detention for deportees. The measures to lower the threshold for deportation include

  • lowering hurdles for departure custody (“Ausreisegewahrsam”),
  • locking up rejected asylum seekers facing deportation in regular prisons with people convicted of legal offenses (though they would be in separate sections), and
  • detention of rejected asylum seekers who “disguise” their identities (“Identitätsfälscher”).

The Orderly Return Law also introduces a new category of “tolerated stay for persons with undetermined identity” and reduces social welfare payments for asylum seekers already granted asylum in other EU member states

Who will have it easier to enter Germany?

Another law of the new policy package is to make it easier to integrate skilled non-European foreigners into Germany’s labor market. This pertains both to foreign citizens who have applied for asylum in Germany and to individuals applying for a work visa in a third country.

  • The entry requirements for skilled non-European workers will be eased slightly and will no longer be limited to so-called shortage occupations like mechanical engineering.
  • Employers no longer need to prove they are unable to find a German or another EU citizen for the position.
  • Sought-after IT specialists are allowed to enter Germany without an apprenticeship, provided they have several years of work experience.
  • Qualified migrant laborers can now come to Germany for a short time to look for a job without an employment contract.

What about rejected asylum seekers who have found work?

  • Rejected asylum seekers with a steady job, who earn their own living and speak German shall be entitled to a tolerated stay (“Duldung”), which allows them to stay for the time being. Caveat: This only applies to those who came to Germany before August 1, 2018
  • Those without a residence permit who have started a vocational training shall be given the opportunity to stay if they meet certain requirements. They will receive a “tolerated stay with apprenticeship”. While that’s not entirely new, the ‘tolerated stay with apprenticeship’ (“Ausbildungsduldung”) will be extended to certain ‘helping professions’ like nurses

With material from dpa and ZDF


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