Changing and accelerating asylum procedures
At their meeting, the Cabinet ministers looked at the necessary amendments to the Employment Ordinance and the Integration Course Ordinance in addition to modifications to asylum procedures and the Asylum Seeker Benefits Act.
Swifter asylum procedures, early integration
The main goals of the modifications to existing legislation involve speeding up asylum procedures and eradicating unintended incentives. The federal government will also ease the financial burden currently carried by the individual federal states and local authorities. Refugees are to be integrated fully at an early stage. People who have no prospects of being granted residence rights are to be returned to their home countries more rapidly.
The Cabinet’s decisions were based on the resolutions adopted at the meeting of the federal and state governments on asylum and refugee policy on 24 September 2015. Against the backdrop of the ongoing refugee situation, the Chancellor and the state premiers of the individual federal states took concrete decisions last Thursday.
Easing the burden on federal states
The federal government will ease much of the burden currently borne by the federal states and will pay the latter a lump sum of 670 euros per asylum-seeker per month, to cover the costs incurred by the federal states. The sum will be payable as of the day on which an asylum-seeker is first registered and will be paid until the asylum procedure is completed. On average, asylum procedures currently take about five months. The aim is to speed up this procedure.
Avoiding unintended incentives
Unintended incentives for individuals with no prospects of being allowed to remain in Germany are to be avoided. For this reason, their needs are to be met as far as possible in kind in future, rather than the "pocket money" currently paid out. This is to apply to the entire time spent by refugees in initial reception centres. Cash payments will be made for no more than one month in advance.
Safe countries of origin
Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro are to be designated safe countries of origin, so as to further speed up the handling of requests for asylum lodged by nationals of these countries. Asylum-seekers from safe countries of origin, who lodged a request for asylum as of 1 September 2015, will be banned from working.
Integration courses and employment
Individuals with good prospects of being granted residence rights are to be integrated into the labour market at an early stage. To this end they must first and foremost have a good command of German. That is why the government is opening up the integration courses run by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees to asylum-seekers and those with tolerated residence status who have good prospects of being allowed to stay in Germany. The government will provide the necessary funding. The integration courses are also to be better dovetailed with job-specific language courses offered by the Federal Employment Agency.
The legislative process is to be completed before the end of October. The plan is that the amendments will come into force on 1 November.