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The German Policy towards migrants

Over the past decade, Germany has been the preferred destination for immigrants and asylum seekers, due to the advantages that the German government provide them. With the advent of a new government, some questions have arisen about the new policy toward immigrants, whether it will remain as it is or whether the new government deprives immigrants of some advantages they had or it would take a more positive path/prospective. 

Number of how many immigrants there are in the country 

Germany has become, after the United States of America, the second prominent destination for migrant. It should be noted, however, that it is labour and family migration that is increasing while humanitarian migration, such as refugees fleeing conflict, is decreasing. 

At the height of the European migration crisis in 2015, according to data reported by the OECD, nearly 900,000 migrants entered Germany under Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open-door policy, many of them seeking asylum. However, that figure has steadily declined since then, contributing to an overall decline in migration.

Source: UNDESA 2020 – IMS stock by sex destination and origin

According to data reported by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), the arrival of migrants in the country from 2015 to 2020 increased by just over two hundred thousand. In contrast, according to the IOM’s World Migration Report 2022, the number of immigrants in the same period 2015-2020, increased by 5 million, where the largest groups came from Poland, Turkey, the Russian Federation, Kazakhstan and the Syrian Arab Republic.

As we can see there is a gap between the two sources of at least 4.8 million immigrants. This gap in numbers could be due to the way immigrants are counted. For example, one might think that the UNDESA report does not take into account the birth of children of immigrants living in Germany who do not obtain German citizenship simply because they were born on German soil. In fact, in Germany the principle of conditional Ius Soli applies, i.e. the right to citizenship is linked to certain conditions. The most common one is that the parents must have been in the country for a certain period, 8 years, before the child was born. Then, between the ages of 18 and 23, the young person will have to decide whether to keep their German nationality or opting for their parents’.

What does the German State provide?

As shown by the data, Germany is one of the most popular destinations for immigrants, which is mainly due to what the country offers to newcomers. According to a report by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees affiliated with Germany’s Federal Ministry of the Interior, numerous services are available to migrants to help them integrate into their new home. 

Several Organisations in Germany help the people who need advice and where people with a migrant background come together. The members of migrant organisations usually have personal experience of migration, so they can offer particularly good help to those who have recently arrived in Germany. Migrant organisations often offer a diverse programme of services, such as interpreting services; advice and counselling; events; courses and further training; educational programmes; parental education, and integration projects. 

Relevant is the service for citizens of the Federal Office for Migrants and refugees. It offers two important services:

(1) Migration counselling for Adult Immigrants: they help to find a solution to people’s problems helping them from the first moment they enter the country. For example, for problems concerning where to learn German, for training and career, for housing, health, etc. 

The advisors usually understand the language, are familiar with the culture of migrants and with the problems and challenges they may encounter in acclimatizing to life in Germany.

(2) Youth migration services: help young people to meet the challenges of integrating life in Germany. They advise and help immigrant young people and young adults between the ages of 12 and 27 through their school, vocational, and social integration process. Services range from personal help with an integration support plan and advice for individual cases through to work with parents and group activities or courses. 

People who are not citizens of a member state of the EU, EEA, or Switzerland and who choose to stay permanently in Germany need a residence permit. There are several types, the first being a visa, which allows entry and subsequent temporary stay. Then there are six other types of residence permits for long-term stays in Germany: residence permit; EU blue card; ICT card; mobile ICT car; settlement permit; long-term EU residence permit.

As far as finding a house is concerned, the German state helps people with financial difficulties in two ways:

(a)The first is through social housing, which is a type of housing that is available in most cities and municipalities and is financed by the state to allow low rent. Consequently, this type of housing can only be rented by needy people with a low income.

(b) The second is the housing subsidy, which means that if you are a tenant, you are entitled to this housing. The amount of the entitlement depends on how many people are in your family, your total income, and the amount of rent you have to pay.

In order to learn German, the federal government provides various language acquisition courses. Attending one of these courses offers many advantages in everyday life and in particular when looking for a job. In fact, those who complete the integration course with a certificate issued at the end of the course have a better chance of finding a job and also of applying for a residence permit or naturalisation.

(a) Integration courses: This is a way in which the German state helps people learn German. Integration courses consist of a language course and an orientation course. It is possible to take an integration course certificate, which certifies that you have acquired adequate knowledge of German and important background knowledge about German society.

(b) German for professional purposes: The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees offers free vocational language courses which can be combined with professional qualifications and the possibility to learn a particular profession by completing an apprenticeship. 

(c) As far as school is concerned, there is compulsory schooling, all children living in Germany must go to school from their sixth birthday. Attendance at public school is free of charge and for all children and young people growing up with a mother tongue other than German, there are special language support programmes in kindergarten or school. 

Regarding health, the state helps immigrants by providing free services, especially for children and their families. Pregnancy counselling is available, i.e. specific advice and counselling for women, men, and couples preparing to become parents. There are various foundations, such as the federal foundation “Mutter und Kind – Schutz des ungeborenen Lebens”, which helps pregnant women with difficulty through additional financial support in connection with individual counselling. There is also early support available for families with children from the beginning of pregnancy until the age of 3. Parental allowance is a state subsidy for parents who take care of their children alone after birth and therefore do not work full-time or at all. This applies even if the parent was not working before the birth. Finally, there is child benefit which means that parents are entitled to child benefit until their child’s 18th birthday, if the child lives in Germany, in an EU member state, or in a country where the Agreement on the European Economic Area applies. If the child attends a vocational training course or studies, this entitlement continues until the child turns 25. 

Health insurance is compulsory in Germany. Most people in Germany are insured by a statutory health insurance fund. Regarding the purchase of medicines, if they are prescribed by a doctor, you only have to pay a small part of the cost because the health insurance will pay the rest. For children and young people up to the age of 18, medicines are free if prescribed by a doctor. 

Social insurance is a form of compulsory insurance, half of the contribution for statutory social insurance is always paid by the employee, the other half is paid by the employee and is automatically deducted from his/her salary. Pension insurance is mandatory for employees to be insured under the statutory pension fund as this insurance provides financial security in old age. To receive it, people must have paid contributions for at least five years. Pension insurance also supports before the legal retirement age in case of incapacity. This means, for example, that people can receive support if they have a serious illness or disability that prevents them from working full or part-time in the foreseeable future under normal conditions of the general labour market. There is also support if you are a widower or an orphan. 

And finally, as far as work is concerned, the Law on the Evaluation and Recognition of Foreign Professional Qualifications establishes the recognition process for professions that fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government. It ensures that professional qualifications from another country are referred to the responsible authority in Germany to find the German equivalent for the profession in question. The immigrant, therefore, has the legal right to have his foreign professional qualifications examined and recognised as equivalent to a German professional qualification, if applicable. This does not depend on nationality, but only on professional qualification.

The new government’s plan

Social Democrat Olaf Scholz was officially appointed German Chancellor on 8 December, ending 16 years of Angela Merkel’s conservative government with a pro-European coalition government with Greens and Liberal Democrats. The new agreement announced on 24 November 2021, creates Germany’s first federal coalition between the Social Democrats (SPD), the Liberal Democrats (FDP), and the Greens and puts an end to more than a decade of conservative government, marking a new era for Berlin’s relations with Europe and the rest of the world.

The coalition agreement, made in 177 pages, provided with the aid of the brand new German authorities marks a giant change in Germany’s asylum and integration rules. While the agreement outlines the removal of punitive measures, priority gets right of entry to the house, EU-coordinated seeks and rescue and safety pathways in Germany, it also seeks to growth deportations and cooperation with third countries on migration. The new German government offered a coalition agreement introducing an extensive variety of modifications to asylum and integration policies. The plans include measures to create possibilities for human beings with a tolerated repute to acquire the proper to live in Germany, especially young humans and those or families who’ve made efforts to be part of German society. 

Restrictions on family reunification rights for humans with subsidiary safety can be eliminated, allowing them the same get admission to family reunification as humans with refugee repute. Unaccompanied kids in Germany may be reunited with their parents and siblings. The coalition additionally pledges to provide integration publications immediately after arrival and to make funding to be had, consisting of migrant-run organisations and professional language publications to support integration into the labour market. The settlement stresses that asylum approaches should be truthful, fast, and offer prison certainty. To this, cease, unbiased legal assistance could be provided at a country-wide level and susceptible agencies will be identified from the outset and acquire a unique guide. It additionally introduces a greater systematic technique to deportations that consists of extended federal aid to the Länder.

The agreement promises to allow dual citizenship for migrants in Germany, which is currently generally only allowed for EU and Swiss citizens, and also to speed up and simplify asylum and residence applications. Due to Germany’s current dual citizenship rules, the country has one of the lowest dual citizenship rates in Europe. One group that will be affected by both the new dual citizenship proposal and the simplified immigration process is Germany’s large Turkish population. There are about 3 million Turks or people of Turkish origin in Germany, who have arrived largely in waves since the 1960s when the so-called guest worker system was first agreed upon.

Waiting instances for naturalisation could be diminished from 8 to 5 years and can be shortened similarly to simply 3 years for ‘special integration achievements, and the coalition settlement wants to lower waiting for instances for domestic permanent house lets in as properly: to three years, in place of the ordinary 5 years.

In conclusion, it can be said that Germany is a country that attracts migratory flows, because of what the state has always offered to asylum seekers and/or refugees who are forced to leave their country. It was also noted that immigration in the country has changed and that migration for work and family is increasing. Germany is well known as a country that is committed to protecting not only freedoms but also the natural basis of life of its citizens. In fact, as we have seen, the country provides many services to help and support newcomers and guarantees them a better life than they had before. 

The new government has therefore decided, through the coalition agreement, to make things even simpler, to speed up the process, and to guarantee more and more protection to those who need it.

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