Germany has one of the highest numbers of asylum seekers in Europe. Despite the German government deporting tens of thousands of asylum seekers in 2019, the country remains home to asylum seekers from the world over.
If you are seeking asylum in Germany due to political turmoil in your home country or whatever valid reasons you could be having for seeking asylum in Germany, there are dozens of things that you are supposed to know about the process of seeking asylum in Germany. Read this guide to understand asylum-seeking in Germany much better.
Asylum seekers in Germany are entitled to multiple benefits, although under certain conditions. In 1993, the German government enacted Asylum Seekers’ Benefits legislation, which accorded asylum seekers multiple medical and social benefits. The legislation was amended in 2015 to grant refugees and asylum seekers standard social benefits.
Under German law, people who have applied for asylum alongside existing asylum seekers are eligible for benefits. In general, asylum seekers are entitled to these benefits below-
Health insurance is one of the crucial benefits that all legal asylum seekers in Germany are entitled to. Health insurance comes in the form of medical assistance to asylum seekers and refugees in Germany. Health insurance for asylum seekers cover the following-
However, not all asylum seekers in Germany are eligible for health insurance. For instance, asylum seekers who have been in the country for at least 15 months aren’t eligible for health insurance. Instead, such asylum seekers are only entitled to emergency healthcare.
An individual can seek asylum at any German airport once they have entered Germany. But claiming asylum in a German airport entails informing airport officials of an individual’s intentions of seeking asylum.
Once you have notified the airport officials of your intentions to get asylum at the airport, you will be asked questions about your claim for asylum. The officials will then schedule a screening interview whereby they will ask you questions regarding your asylum. The interview doesn’t take place on the very day you express your interest in getting asylum at that particular German airport. The interview normally takes place 5 days from the time you express your interest in getting asylum.
Screening interviews normally take place at the airport where an applicant has expressed interest in getting asylum. For those seeking asylum at Frankfurt airport, for instance, the screening interview will be held within the premises of the Frankfurt airport.
Applicants should be willing to provide evidence of identity during the interview. Applicants who don’t have documents of proof of their identity risks being deported to their home countries. After the screening process, the airport officials will take an applicant’s biometric information, which includes a valid photograph and fingerprints. The obtained biometric data will be used for purposes of verifying an applicant’s identity.
Officials might decide to schedule a second interview when they suspect that the applicant is an illegal entrant to Germany. This interview is carried out under great caution. Whatever the applicant will say can be used against them.
Luckily, being labeled an illegal entrant doesn’t automatically warrant for the deportation of the applicant. If the applicant meets the threshold to be granted refugee status, they can still be considered for asylum at the relevant German airport. Nevertheless, this will affect the applicant’s immigration status moving forward.
After the end of the 2nd screening interview, applicants are issued with a copy of their interview records. These records are in the form of written documents of exactly what the applicant stated during the screening interview. If the records are consistent with what the applicant said during the interview, they will automatically be granted asylum at the relevant airport. But in case the records are inconsistent with what the applicant said, they risk being deported.
The latest statistics from the Indian government show that out of the 8,363 Indians who are living overseas illegally, 8,000 are in Germany where they have sought asylum. German is a great asylum haven for Indian nationals for good reasons.
Indians have been seeking asylum in Germany in their thousands since 2012. One of the reasons why there are plenty of Indian asylum seekers in Germany than in any other country is because of Germany’s asylum laws which seem to favor Indian asylum seekers.
Germany has enacted two crucial immigrant laws namely the Residence Act and the Asylum act, which ultimately favor Indian immigrants who are seeking asylum in India. Once the Indian immigrants have arrived in Germany, they are instantly put under reception facilities whereby they are provided with essential items such as clothing food and healthcare among others.
Due to the high number of Indian asylum seekers in Germany, the German government is usually overwhelmed and thus it can’t afford to place all these asylum seekers into reception facilities. Nevertheless, the government provides cash allowances to the asylum seekers who aren’t lucky enough to be housed in the reception facilities. These cash allowances are meant to help immigrants purchase the basic items that they use on an everyday basis.
The German authorities have been reporting a surge in the number of Indian asylum seekers in Germany, most of whom don’t even know they aren’t qualified for asylum in Germany. But in nearly all instances, the German government grants asylum strictly to Indians who have a residence title after they have expressed interest in acquiring asylum in Germany via an application. As their application is being reviewed, asylum seekers are allowed to live in Germany temporarily.
In case the application is declined, applicants are still permitted to stay in Germany. However, this comes only after applicants have been granted ‘Duldung’ status, a type of status that is granted to persons who don’t qualify for asylum in Germany. Although a person with this status isn’t subjected to deportations, they are however not supposed to leave Germany or travel abroad.
Germany offers different types of asylum to asylum seekers as well as refugees. These forms of asylum are namely-
This type of asylum is granted with a grace period not exceeding 6 months from the time an asylum seeker made their application. Generally, asylum seekers are supposed to live in reception centers while their application is being reviewed. The government can give applicants an obligation to remain in these centers for not more than 24 months. Moreover, asylum seekers who are perceived to have hailed from safe nations of origin are supposed to stay in these centers for the entire duration of the application process.
Arrival centers are also among the most common forms of asylum in Germany. Germany may either opt to transform existing reception centers into arrival centers, or it can also opt to put up new arrival centers. There are about 16 arrivals across Germany.
Once the period of an asylum seeker staying in a reception center comes to an end, they are transferred to collective accommodation centers. These centers are situated in various federal states across Germany. Asylum seekers are compelled to live in the collective accommodation center they were initially admitted until the application of their asylum is reviewed to the letter.
Apart from various types of asylum in German, asylum seekers in Germany are also granted a variety of protection below-
Refugee protection– refugee protection is accorded to asylum seekers who have fled their countries of origin for fear of persecution by respective states. This protection entails giving asylum seekers residence permits for up to 3 years.
Subsidiary protection– this form of protection is given when a person can’t be accorded either refugee or asylum status. It is usually applied to persons who can’t return to their home countries due to possible persecution by the state. A person under subsidiary protection is granted a visa for at least one year.
Ban on deportation– if an asylum seeker isn’t accorded any form of protection while in Germany, they can still stay in the country although under certain conditions. This includes banning their deportation.
Refugees alongside asylum seekers are banned from working in Germany for the first year after they have applied for asylum in Germany. Furthermore, refugees are barred from accessing employment especially if they have been compelled to remain in reception centers. Even for refugees from safe nations of origin, there are still not supposed to access the employment market for about 24 months, since they still must remain at their respective initial reception centers.
However, refugees residing in some specific reception centers are sometimes allowed to work although at lower wages compared to other workers in Germany. Although both refugees and asylum seekers alike aren’t supposed to work while seeking asylum in Germany, some exceptions may allow some of them to work. For instance, refugees are allowed to seek work permits for them to be eligible to work in Germany.
If you are a refugee or asylum seeker in Germany and you would like the idea of working in the country especially if you are qualified, you must first seek a work permit. Here is how to obtain work permits in Germany for refugees.
After 24 months in the reception center, you are no longer obliged to remain permanently in the reception center as a refugee. So you will already have the liberty to move around and also seek employment opportunities you are qualified for.
To be issued with a work permit as a refugee in Germany, you need crucial documents from the German immigration office. After obtaining documents needed to issue you with a work permit, you can then take them to a prospective employer. The employer will then sign them as proof of consent to the employment opportunity. Keep copies of these documents as well.
Upon getting crucial documents needed while applying for a work permit as a refugee in Germany, you can submit them to the relevant immigration authorities after they have been signed by a prospective employer. You should carry your passport while submitting the documents.
A work permit for refugees in Germany isn’t issued overnight. Applicants ought to wait for a couple of weeks for their applications to be reviewed. You will be issued with a work permit once the authorities are satisfied you are qualified to work in Germany as a refugee.
Also read: Is It Easy To Get A Job In Germany?
Germany boasts one of the best refugee programs in the world according to UNHCR. The country’s refugee policy is anchored on saving lives, building a brighter future for refugees and protecting the rights and dignity of refugees. Germany’s refugee program also gives special attention to stateless people and displace communities.
The German government offers a refugee program that is geared towards ensuring that everyone across the planet has the right to seek refuge and asylum in Germany. Since 1950, the government through its refugee program has been able to handle numerous crises on several continents. As a result, the German government has been able to offer crucial assistance to asylum seekers, refugees, stateless persons, and displaced persons.
The German refugee program grants the right to seek refuge for anyone who is fleeing their home country particularly due to political persecution. A refugee is permitted to stay in Germany if they are granted refugee status, political asylum or subsidiary protection. The other provision that may allow one to stay in Germany as a refugee is if their deportation has been prohibited by a government agency. However, one must make an application to become a refugee in Germany.
One can make a claim to be admitted to Germany as a refugee. To establish whether an individual is eligible for refugee status, they have to be interviewed first. The Residence Act and the Asylum Act are the two crucial immigration laws that outline rules for the handling and admission of refugee claims. Following the ongoing refugee crisis that has affected Germany and other European countries, these two immigration laws have been repeatedly amended over the years.
Before being granted refugee status, refugees are compelled to remain in reception centers until their application is reviewed accordingly. While in the reception centers, refugees are provided with essential items such as housing, food, health care, and clothing.
The German refugee law allows persons to register as asylum seekers at the country’s border, or within the country. Later, they may be directed to the nearest reception facility where they are registered as asylum seekers.
Germany has recently appealed its immigration laws to regulate the number of asylum seekers in the country, which has soared drastically over recent years. The new law for asylum seekers in German is anchored on admitting qualified foreign nationals, especially non-EU nationals.
The new law which will come into effect in early 2020 is expected to simplify the process of admitting skilled professionals to Germany. Most importantly, the law seeks to address the shortage of skilled workers in Germany. Under the new law, the German government will be giving priority to skilled asylum seekers seeking asylum in Germany.
The new law entails attracting skilled foreign professionals. Under the new law, asylum seekers will be issued with work permits once they secure a job opportunity in various high-demand professions. Asylum seekers that are yet to secure employment with a suitable German employer will be supposed to apply for a job seekers’ visa, six months after being granted asylum in Germany.
The new isn’t only restricted to asylum seekers in EU nations, but also foreign nationals from non-EU countries. Asylum seekers from such nations will have to possess qualifications that are acceptable in Germany. More importantly, the law will address the plight of specific migrants residing in Germany but are yet to be issued with work permits.
The new law for asylum seekers in Germany allows foreigners and other people who have sought asylum in Germany to continue staying and working in Germany even if their deportation has been halted temporarily. However, they will have to fulfill certain requirements. For instance, their identity must have been established by the immigration office. They should also have sufficient financial means of subsistence. These foreigners are also supposed to provide the government with legal certainty about their residence status.
The new law for asylum seekers in Germany doesn’t give priority to EU or German citizens when it gets to employment. It accords qualified asylum seekers of equal working rights as their German counterparts.
Germany has several refugee camps across the country. These camps host hundreds of thousands of refugees from multiple nations worldwide. Although the government recently announces that it would open mass holding centers to accommodate the surging number of asylum seekers in Germany, refugee camps remain the best option for housing refugees in Germany. This list below outlines some of the refugee camps in Germany.
Friedland refugee camp was established in 1945. The camp was started as a camp for refugees, returning officers and evacuees. Located in lower Saxony in the German district of Gottingen, the camp has an estimated number of 13,300 refugees mostly from Syria and other Middle East nations that are currently undergoing political turmoil. The camp lies on a 75.68 km square of land.
The refugee camp is located in the Bavaria region of the German territory. The camp runs as an integrated deportation facility. It presently houses about 11,400 refugees as well as asylum seekers. It further serves as a transit camp for refugees coming to Germany via Bavaria. The camp is enclosed with barbed-wire for purposes of refugees’ safety. Refugees living in this camp are provided with virtually everything they require for their everyday life.
Situated in the German Federal State of Hamburg, the refugee camp houses one of the highest refugee populations in Germany. The camp currently has over 39,000 refugees most of whom have fled war-torn nations including Afghanistan and Syria. There is also a significant number of Turkish refugees. Most of whom have fled Turkey seeking asylum in Germany after facing gross persecution by the Turkish government.
Located on the Bavarian city of Regensburg, the camp houses the largest population of displaced persons in Germany. It was started in the late 1940s, mainly for housing displaced persons during World War 2. Today, it is home to thousands of refugees from Ukraine, Afghanistan, and Syria among other war-torn nations.
Anyone seeking asylum in Germany ought to understand the country’s refugee policy to the letter. Generally, the German refugee policy is centered on a welcoming approach of refugees, displaced persons, stateless persons and asylum seekers from the world over.
Germany has consistently repealed its refugee policy as immigration continues to take center stage in Europe. Following an amendment to the immigration laws, the German refugee policy now seeks to attract a specific group of refugees.
The new German refugee policy acknowledges that refugees from EU nations alone cannot meet the country’s labor demand. As such, the country is now open for refugees from outside the EU, although these refugees will have to be skilled and qualified for them to work in some of the high-demand professions in Germany.
The policy further seeks to offer asylum seekers from safe nations of origin with refugee status. A refugee from these nations will enjoy temporary humanitarian protection. But refugees with criminal backgrounds will be deported to their respective countries of origin.
As part of its refugee policy, Germany is utilizing multiple humanitarian admission programs. This translates into the legal entry of migrants and refugees into Germany. The policy doesn’t favor refugees who come to the country illegally.
While the German government is committed to admitting more legal refugees into the country, its refugee policy is nevertheless designed with reducing illegal immigration in mind. The policy aims at curbing illegal immigration, at the same time offering genuine refugees with special protection.
Germany is overly a great nation to seek asylum. With a refugee policy that is welcoming to refugees from various places across the world, it isn’t surprising to see why lots of people are now seeking asylum in Germany.