Since mid, an increasing number of refugees have chosen the eastern Mediterranean route through Turkey and Greece as it is cheaper and less dangerous. In the public debate the question is often posed as to why asylum seekers look for protection in Germany and a few other countries.
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This might also explain why there are substantial differences within the EU with respect to the countries of origin of refugees. Germany receives particularly many Afghans, Syrians and refugees from the Western Balkan countries as, in comparison to the rest of Europe, there are large communities from these nations already in the country. Over the past years, the refugee policy in Germany has been gradually liberalised, i. This has been facilitated by favourable conditions: a moderate number of applications, positive economic development and an awareness of accelerating demographic ageing.
In view of these factors, migration and integration policies have been gradually modernised. As a result, the integration of refugees is encouraged. In particular, refugees should be given access to language and integration courses in order to promote their integration into the labour market.
In September , for instance, a legislative package was adopted which shortened the ban on employment for asylum seekers from nine to three months. A more humanitarian German refugee policy also included an increase in organised admission schemes, through which refugees can enter Germany in a safe and legal manner.
The Federal Republic of Germany had consistently taken part in individual organised admission schemes for refugees from crisis-torn areas in the past. Furthermore, in reaction to the crisis in Syria, Germany is one of the few European countries to have developed programmes for admitting temporary refugees from Syria on a larger scale. Between May and June the federal government and the states decided to create a total of 20, places for refugees from crisis-torn countries.
The refugees received in this way are granted a residence permit for an initial period of two years and are allowed to start work immediately. Moreover, 15 states made it possible for Syrians living in Germany to bring their family members, provided that they commit themselves to cover the cost of their accommodation and living. By the end of , approximately 20, people were received in this way. A considerable increase in applications has again sharpened the political and social debate on asylum and refugee protection in Germany. Municipalities were faced with a growing challenge concerning the accommodation of refugees.
Across the country, temporary accommodation was offered, including in barracks, containers, tents and school sports halls. In March , sports halls nationwide were occupied by refugees. The opening of temporary shelters has often led to conflict with local residents. Despite numerous staff increases, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees BAMF , which is responsible for the examination of asylum applications, does not have sufficient capacity.
This increases the backlog of cases and extends processing times. In view of the above, the main objective of the federal government was to accelerate the processing of applications and to significantly reduce the number of new applications. In particular, the number of asylum seekers from Serbia, Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, which has has been growing since , and the very low recognition rates among this group, sparked a new debate on "asylum abuse".
In early November , Serbia, Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina were designated safe countries of origin. This is supposed to accelerate the processing of applications and send a signal to people from these countries of origin that submitting an application is not worthwhile.
The federal government immediately reacted to the dramatic events of the summer with the so-called Asylum Package I, which was adopted under an accelerated parliamentary procedure and came into force on 24 October. The package provides for a greater participation of the federal government in the cost of financing of refugee accommodation and also contains a number of measures aimed at accelerating the asylum procedure. The objective is also to integrate at an early stage those refugees that are likely to remain in Germany currently these are refugees from Syria, Iraq, Iran and Eritrea.
They are given the opportunity to attend an integration course during the asylum procedure.
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On the other hand, asylum seekers that are unlikely to stay in the country are supposed to leave Germany more quickly. Furthermore, in reception centres, cash payments should be to a large extent replaced with in-kind benefits. The construction planning law was changed so that accommodation for refugees could be secured more quickly and without much bureaucracy. In the next step, Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro were also recognised as safe countries of origin. In return, access to the labour market for citizens of the Western Balkans was facilitated.
However, in the face of the continuing surge of refugees, these measures seemed to be insufficient from the perspective of the German federal government.
In these centres, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees should in future take decisions on asylum applications within one week. Rejected applicants should return to their own countries or be deported directly from these centres. The second asylum package includes additional measures whose aims include limiting family reunification for certain refugees and simplifying deportation. The measures entered into force in mid-March Further restrictive measures have become the subject of heated debate, including within the government.
Over the last few months, there have been calls for the introduction of a ceiling for asylum seekers. If the ceiling were reached, all further asylum seekers would be turned back at the border.businesspodden.com/vademecum-nfn-guia-practica-1.php
The Permanent Refugee Crisis in the Federal Republic of Germany, 1949—
However, this idea raises legal objections. Currently under discussion is the introduction of a compulsory place of residence for recognised asylum seekers — this is in order to reduce the influx of refugees to large cities. Moreover, Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia are to be recognised as safe countries of origin. Polling results show that the responses to the challenges of refugee reception vary and, on the whole, can be viewed as ambivalent. Thousands of people welcomed them at railway stations, made in-kind donations, helped by handing out meals in emergency shelters and offered language courses.
On the other hand, there were civic movements which were sceptical or hostile to the creation of emergency shelters in their neighbourhoods. Right-radicals such as the NPD initiated or exploited numerous protests against the reception of asylum seekers. Protests were also staged in affluent areas, motivated by a fear of a fall in property values.
In addition to protests there were also instances of violence against refugee shelters, including many arson attacks.
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There has been a significant rise in popularity of the anti-immigration Pegida movement, which has staged regular demonstrations, as well as the rise of the populist right-wing party Alternative for Germany AfD. The party came third in the survey, the highest it had ever polled. It is likely that a significant number of refugees will stay in Germany for a long period, or permanently. It has always been emphasised that refugees also constitute an opportunity for the ageing German society. They are on average substantially younger than the Germans and, thus, could contribute to the stabilisation of German pay-as-you-go social schemes and a reduction in skilled labour shortages.
The legislative framework in this respect is more favourable than in the past, at least for those refugees likely to stay in Germany. The situation on the labour market has also improved. In order to enable the integration of great numbers of refugees as soon as possible it is, however, necessary to make considerable efforts. The enormous number of young refugees, many of whom have not attended schools for long periods, presents the German education and training systems with a major challenge. The existing bottlenecks of highly qualified teachers threaten to delay the integration process.
Shortages can also be seen on the housing market, resulting in thousands of recognised refugees being forced to live for longer periods in emergency or community centres. This, in turn, significantly hinders integration. Furthermore, the targets that are set should be realistic. There is no reliable data yet available regarding the levels of qualifications of refugees; however, preliminary analyses suggest that these levels vary significantly.
It will be a huge challenge to fit the often informal qualifications of refugees into the strongly formalised German labour system. It should be assumed that a considerable number of those in search of protection will not be able to take up employment immediately and will need a certain adjustment period. In each case it will be necessary to first learn the German language, which will take time, not least because there are not enough language courses offered. Since , the German federal government has promoted a European solution to the refugee crisis.
This solution was to consist of an even distribution of asylum seekers — those arriving both spontaneously and in an organised way — across the European Community of states. However, such a solution turned out to be difficult to implement as only a few countries were ready to participate to a significant extent. On 13 September , the German federal government decided to temporarily reintroduce checks at German borders, particularly the border between Germany and Austria.
So far, the government has rejected demands to close its borders and has labelled this a last resort, should the European solution proposed not function in the future. Other states have adopted similar measures including Sweden, Denmark and France. Austria and countries located on the Balkan route went one step further and, since the end of , have gradually closed the route for refugees. Since March, this has led to a significant decrease in the number of refugees entering Germany.
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