Germany unveils integration law for refugees

brandenburg gate

Brandenburg Gate, the most famous landmark of Germany

Source: The Guardain


Asylum seekers face cuts to support if they reject mandatory measures such as classes in language and culture

Germany has announced new legal measures requiring migrants and refugees to integrate into society in return for being allowed to live and work in the country.

Under the coalition government’s measures, announced on Thursday morning, asylum seekers face cuts to support if they reject mandatory integration measures such as language classes or lessons in German laws or cultural basics.


Sigmar Gabriel and Angela Merkel announce tough measures to spur the integration of migrants. Photograph: Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images

According to the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, the aim of Germany’s first ever integration law is to make it easier for asylum seekers to gain access to the German labour market, with the government promising 100,000 new “working opportunities”, expected to include low-paid workfare jobs.

A law requiring employers to give preference to German or EU job applicants over asylum seekers will be suspended for three years.

The vice-chancellor, Sigmar Gabriel, described the agreement as a historic step, saying he was convinced that “in a few years’ time this law will be seen as a milestone for our immigration law”.

More than 476,000 asylum applications were registered in Germany in 2015, with officials putting the total number of arrivals at over a million.

Yet the number of asylum seekers arriving in central Europe has dropped off considerably in recent weeks due to Balkan countries sealing off their borders and the European Union and Turkey agreeing on a deal to return refugees arriving in Greece.

Germany announced earlier this month that the number of refugees entering the country via Austria had dropped off seven-fold. Switzerland said on Thursday the number of people seeking asylum in the country had dropped for the fourth consecutive month, with officials registering 1,992 requests in March, roughly 25% fewer than in February.

“The reason for this development is the continuous decline of migration via the Balkan route,” the Swiss migration office said. “Since March, affected countries along the Balkan route have brought transit traffic to a virtual standstill.”

On Thursday Austria announced it was ready to step up measures to discourage people from making the journey to Europe from countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.

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Categories: Europe, Germany, refugees, The Muslim Times

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