On Wednesday, the Cabinet adopted three separate bills regarding different aspects of migration.
Orderly Return Act
To ensure that unsuccessful asylum-seekers genuinely leave Germany within the period set, the German government intends to improve practical repatriation. To this end a series of measures are envisaged. Asylum-seekers who fail to help clarify their own identity can expect sanctions to be imposed, for instance.
In future it will also be easier for authorities to arrest unsuccessful asylum-seekers in order to enforce their obligation to leave the country. And it will be possible to deport asylum-seekers found guilty of criminal offences more swiftly, while enforcement is to be significantly improved. Individuals entering Germany unlawfully, who already have protected status in another EU state, will not receive any social welfare benefits in future.
One major part of migration policy is returning those who have no entitlement to stay in Germany.
Encouraging German skills, training and employment
With the Foreign Nationals Employment Act the German government intends to provide more support primarily to asylum-seekers with a temporary residence permit and to those with tolerated residence status, who are endeavouring to undertake training or find work. People who have fled their homes to come to Germany, where it is not yet certain whether or not they will be permitted to stay in the long term, are also to be enabled to earn their living as far as possible.
In detail, the bill provides for better access to integration courses and occupation-specific German courses, as well as training assistance. Asylum-seekers with good chances of being granted permission to stay in Germany will receive assistance to help them take up work at an early stage. Employment promotion has hitherto only been possible for a limited period.
Strengthening training and voluntary work
To encourage and motivate asylum-seekers to undertake training and to foster their subsequent integration into the labour market, the German government has also decided to reform the Asylum Seekers’ Benefits Act.
In future asylum seekers are no longer to find their benefits discontinued after 15 months in Germany. In this way the German government aims to counter the problem of refugees prematurely breaking off training and degree courses. Companies training refugees will also have greater legal certainty and a sounder basis on which to plan.
Refugees engaging in voluntary work are to be granted an allowance of 200 euros a month. Voluntary work can help them learn German and establish personal contacts, thus fostering integration.
New approved benefits rates for asylum-seekers
In addition, the Cabinet has adjusted the benefits rates for asylum-seekers. Electricity and housing maintenance benefits will in future no longer be part of financial benefits and will instead be paid in kind. While this means that the financial benefits will be lower, the services will be provided in full.
For benefit recipients living in collective housing, the benefits will be further reduced, since some costs, for media use for instance, are not incurred in full by every individual.