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What do migrants really benefit from in Germany?

What do migrants really benefit from in Germany?

The social contributions someone receives in Germany depend on their refugee status.

Refugees from Ukraine, for example, receive a residence permit as temporary protection without an asylum procedure, which also includes an unlimited right to work. About 1.1 million Ukrainian refugees in Germany, in case of need, are provided with all the social assistance provided. This includes the citizen contribution, which in January 2023 replaced unemployment assistance II. Currently, (September 2023) for an adult in Germany, it reaches the figure of 502 euros per month. Refugees without housing have the right to housing through the social office - just like any person without an apartment in Germany. This shelter can be an emergency shelter, a hostel or a refugee shelter. In addition, those who have this temporary protection status have access to health care through health insurance. The residence permit is initially valid for two years.

For those who enter Germany and apply for asylum, different rules apply.

Asylum seekers are usually accommodated in a first reception center for refugees. The German states are responsible for this. The first reception centers are large shelters such as former barracks. People live in rooms with several beds without cooking facilities, but receive food at all meals. Staying there can last from several weeks to several months. After that they are distributed in districts and municipalities.

Border controls to prevent migrant smuggling Photo: Patrick Pleul/dpa/picture alliance
Most municipalities have fixed shelters, most of which are community shelters, that can hold 30 people for example or several hundred. The spectrum is wide - from well-organized new constructions with a garden and play facilities for children, cooking facilities in a closed apartment - to old buildings in suburban areas, where refugees have to share a room with four or five people. Freedom of movement for asylum seekers is limited during the asylum process. They are forced during the procedure and partially further to stay in one place.

The law on the contribution of asylum seekers regulates what asylum seekers are entitled to receive as support. If asylum seekers live in a reception center or community accommodation they only receive the so-called "necessary supply". This includes food, shelter, heating, clothing, hygiene and health products as well as household items. For direct personal needs, asylum seekers have the right to receive pocket money. 150 Euro per month for a single asylum seeker. If the "necessity supply" is not provided in material form, then they are entitled to receive cash which includes 367 euros per month. Voluntary commitment is also rewarded. If asylum seekers work in various voluntary jobs, they have the right to receive up to 200 euros per month.

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Health emergencies such as injuries are treated at the hospital. The hospitals then request the compensation from the social office. Otherwise health care varies from country to country. If in some countries asylum seekers receive an electronic health card, with which they can go to the doctor, in others they must make a request for treatment in the relevant office before being treated. But in case of need, health care is taken as a whole. After recognition of protected status or after 18 months of residence, those who are entitled to services receive full access to health services, just like all other insured persons of statutory insurance.

Refugees who have been denied asylum but have the right to a tolerated stay, i.e. Duldung, are also given the right to receive all services according to the relevant law. Which means: they have to leave, but stay temporarily for various reasons that hinder the journey, or that they cannot be deported. For example, when they do not have identification documents, or have an illness that cannot be treated in their country.

In order to quickly determine the identity of certain persons and the travel documents, cooperation with the authorities of the country of origin is needed. The German government has closed several agreements with certain countries and is trying to close agreements with other countries. Interest in many countries to readmit citizens is low. One of the reasons is money transfers, even by irregular migrants to their families, an important economic factor in these countries. In some countries these payments even amount to more than development aid and go directly to people in need./DW

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