The German Government has agreed on a set of measures to address the huge number (last count: around 800,000) of refugees arriving in the country. The Federal Government will spend at least 6 billion euros over the next year to register, feed, house, and process asylum applications.
Beyond the funds, the government also calls on the EU to develop a comprehensive and unified plan to process asylum seekers, as well as an international alliance to fight the sources of the current refugee crisis, e.g. the civil war in Syria and continued instability elsewhere.
The particulars of the Government’s plans are as follows:
Speeding the Asylum Application Process
The central priority will be the acceleration of the asylum process. This will be achieved through an immediate increase in the staff of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BMAF), which is the agency responsible for making asylum decisions. In addition to these personnel increases, the government will increase the number of Federal Police Officers (Bundespolizei) by 3000 for the next three years. The new police officers will assist in receiving and processing refugees.
The Government will introduce a law, to be passed by the end of October, that establishes the Balkan states – Kosovo, Albania, and Montenegro as “Secure Origin States.” This is a measure intended to accelerate the asylum application process for migrants from these states, who make up a significant percentage of the total number of refugees expected in Germany this year.
The timetable for asylum applications will be reduced from 6 months to 3 months.
The Federal Government will assist the states and local communities with the construction of approximately 150,000 winter-safe living quarters for refugees. The Government will offer any available federally owned infrastructure (e.g. barracks, other buildings) and will assume the cost for any required renovations. In the meantime, certain building codes and bureaucratic requirements will be relaxed in order to accelerate the timetable.
In addition to these facilities, the Government will provide support for the construction of social housing facilities in communities. These social housing units will be available to all residents – not only refugees.
Provisions for Refugees
Refugees will be provided with goods, rather than cash, during the asylum application process. This is to reduce the incentives for economic migrants posing as refugees.
Money – Lots of It
The Federal Government will increase budget outlays for refugees by 3 billion Euros for the fiscal 2016 budget. It will provide another 3 billion Euros directly to states and communities. The exact distribution and use of this money will be agreed upon at a Federal/State conference scheduled for September 24th of this year.
Refugees and Work
The work prohibition for asylum applicants and their dependents will be reduced to three months. The Federal Government will provide financial means when necessary to induce the integration of asylum applicants into the workforce, including increased funding for Job Centers.
Immigrants from the Balkans
To compensate for the presumed increase in deportations, the government has proposed to increase the number of legal migrants from this region. Anyone from the Balkans who has proof of a job contract or a study-place in Germany will be allowed to migrate legally.
Call for Volunteers
The Government will increase the capacity of the Federal Volunteer Service by 10,000 members.