New rules to speed up repatriations

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Limiting irregular migration New rules to speed up repatriations

According to Federal Chancellor Scholz, the number of refugees currently trying to reach Germany is too high. In response, the Federal Government has introduced a repatriation package, adopted today by the Cabinet, which includes swifter deportation of criminals. A summary.

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Deportations from Leipzig airport.

Deportations from Leipzig airport. The repatriation package was adopted by the Cabinet.

Photo: picture alliance/dpa/Michael Kappeler

A key step towards limiting irregular migration is to speed up repatriations and deportations of those who have no right to remain in Germany. Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser introduced a draft law to this effect on 11 October 2023, which was adopted today by the Cabinet. It followed a process of detailed discussions with the federal states which are responsible for deportations and with representatives of municipal organisations.

The repatriation package includes a raft of measures to make procedures more effective and enforce deportation rules more consistently. This involves speeding up deportations of criminals and dangerous individuals.

What individual measures are included in the draft law?

  1. Custody pending removal: In line with constitutional and European law, the maximum period is to be extended from 10 to 28 days, giving the authorities more time to prepare deportations.
  2. Repatriating criminals Where an individual has been sentenced to more than one year in prison the interest in removal is particularly strong, which makes deporting them easier.
  3. The deportation of traffickers is to be expedited with particular urgency.
  4. The new plans will also make it much easier to deport members of criminal associations. It will in future be possible to deport these individuals regardless of whether they have been convicted of a specific offence, as long as there is adequate evidence to show that they are a member of a criminal association. This is another tool for use to fight organised crime structures.
  5. The draft law also allows searches of homes for data storage devices and documents, particularly in cases where there is a need to positively identify an individual.
  6. The proposed legislation would also allow authorities to enter other rooms in shared accommodation, under strict conditions in line with the rule of law. In cases involving deportation, this would ensure that the authorities would be able to find the person concerned in shared accommodation
  7. Violations of entry and residence permits will be considered as sufficient grounds for deportation.
  8. Deportation will no longer be announced for prison inmates who are subject to orders to leave the country. In the same way, the draft law scraps the duty to give one month’s notice of deportation (which was preceded by at least one year’s temporary suspension of the order). Exceptions are made for families with children aged under 12.
  9. The draft laws would also make it possible to enforce bans on entry and residence, orders to live at a specified address, and movement restrictions with immediate effect so as to increase their effectiveness.
  10. The draft law also includes proposals to reduce the burden on agencies dealing with foreign nationals. In specific terms, this means extending the validity of residency permits in asylum cases from three months to six. Residence permits for dependents of those claiming asylum will be extended from one year to three. The draft law also includes provisions for electronic residency permits for foreigners holding settlement permits or permission for long-term residency in the EU. 

What happens next?  

The Federal States and municipal associations were given the chance to respond to the draft law, while further discussions within the Federal Government were still ongoing. Today, the draft law was presented to the Federal Cabinet for discussion and adoption. It is to be introduced in the Bundestag and enter into force by the end of this year.

More information is available from the Federal Ministry of the Interior .