In the current year, around 1.3 million people have arrived, mainly from Ukraine. What are the motives of the refugees and how does the German population react? 10 questions about the new refugee movement.
The refugee issue is once again surging into the national consciousness. We already talked about this yesterday. A world in strife has set in motion a global refugee movement. Germany is also affected.
According to the Ministry of the Interior, around 1.3 million people have arrived here in the current year, primarily, but not only, from Ukraine. For comparison: in 2015, 900,000 refugees came to Germany.
Led by Pioneer Editor-in-Chief Michael Bröcker, our editorial team has answered the 20 most relevant questions on this topic. The first ten questions yesterday, the others here and today.
11. Why do people leave their ancestral homeland: What are currently the most important reasons for fleeing people arriving in Germany?
Most of the refugees this year come from the war zones of Ukraine, around 1.1 million as of November 19. Russia’s missile attacks hit the whole country.
It is mainly women and children who come to Germany seeking protection. Their men stay behind because they are obliged to take part in the national defense.
The women and children come because large parts of the country no longer have access to electricity, warm homes and schools. Access to food is also at risk: crops have been destroyed and agricultural infrastructure has been destroyed in many places.
The smaller part of the current refugees comes primarily from Syria, Afghanistan, Turkey and Iran. Up to and including October, 50,000 Syrians, 26,000 Afghans and 15,000 Turks alone submitted their first applications for asylum.
In Syria, the war is raging for the tenth year, in Iran the regime is using violence against protesters and in Turkey Kurds are fleeing the reprisals of the Erdogan regime – some simply because life in the face of inflation of 85.5 percent for many has become priceless.
12. One hears little on the subject from the federal government. Has the Chancellor ever visited a refugee camp?
Chancellor Scholz visited the German-Ukrainian association “Blau-Gelbes Kreuz” in Cologne in May and paid tribute to its help for refugees from Ukraine; The Federal Chancellor also paid a visit to the arrival center for Ukrainian refugees at the old Berlin-Tegel Airport.
The Chancellor has often commented on the Ukrainian refugees, but the Federal Government has so far hardly commented on the increased number of asylum seekers from other countries of origin.
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An offensive for a reform of the European asylum system is missing. As early as September, the head of the federal police union, Heiko Teggatz, wrote a letter to the SPD Interior Minister Nancy Faeser in which he called for stationary border controls at the German-Czech border.
The unauthorized entry into Germany had increased “explosively”, it said. But the federal government and the chancellor have so far rejected border controls.
On request, however, the Ministry of the Interior confirmed the trend: “Not only in Germany, but also at the EU’s external borders, the migration pressure is currently increasing significantly. Although the numbers increase every year in summer and autumn, the current access activity is more dynamic than in previous years.”
13. How is the population reacting to the new wave of refugees? The normal population continues to be helpful. In particular, the refugees from the Ukraine enjoy great sympathy in many places. They are welcomed with open arms and accommodation provided.
But: Attacks on refugee shelters have also increased significantly in recent months. In the 2nd and 3rd quarters of this year, 46 such attacks were registered nationwide, significantly more than in the same period of the previous year, according to a response from the federal government to a request from the Left Party.
14. Do refugees receive citizen benefits? Yes and no.
When it is introduced on January 1st, citizens’ allowances will only be available to refugees from Ukraine. Because from day one in the Federal Republic they are on an equal footing with local long-term unemployed and are looked after by the job centers.
Refugee organizations speak of the “two-class system”. Because: Tolerated and asylum seekers from all other countries initially receive money under the so-called Asylum Seekers Benefits Act.
Single people currently receive 367 euros per month, which is significantly less than the current Hartz IV standard rate of 449 euros. Those who have successfully gone through their asylum procedure are then also eligible for the job center – and are entitled to citizen benefits.
15. What do we know about the refugees’ jobs and qualifications: Do they help us to combat the shortage of skilled workers?
There is no precise registration of refugees by profession and school qualifications. The only thing that is certain is that a large proportion of the newcomers who were able to work from earlier years have not yet arrived on the labor market – which urgently needs trained specialists in Germany.
While the average unemployment rate in Germany is 5.2 percent, that of the foreign population – i.e. people without German citizenship – is 14.8 percent. Around 898,979 foreigners were registered as unemployed in Germany in October 2022.
Education is the key to integration. In 2019, 34 percent of people with a migration background in Germany did not have a recognized school leaving certificate, and the figure for foreigners who had immigrated was even 46 percent.
The danger: Immigrants who do not have a job remain in the parallel society of the social system. This group cannot make any contribution to eliminating the shortage of skilled workers.
16. What is the state doing to integrate the refugees into the labor market? The federal government wants to bundle all integration measures according to the principle of “support and challenge” and improve the coordination between federal, state and local authorities in the offers for refugees.
The recognition of professional qualifications should be faster, it is said again and again. However, little has happened yet. However, the state offers integration courses, for example.
These usually consist of two modules: 600 teaching units of a language course, 100 units of an orientation course on history, culture and the legal system.
According to figures from the Federal Employment Agency, 96,000 Ukrainians attended integration courses in October. Recognized refugees, regardless of their origin, can be obliged by the job center to take part in an integration course.
17. How much does the state spend on refugees and asylum? In 2020, the federal and state governments spent around 4.2 billion euros on asylum seeker benefits.
This year, the federal government wants to support the states with 4.5 billion euros in the accommodation and care of refugees. But these numbers do not yet reflect the entire dimension.
A total budget of 22.2 billion euros for refugees and asylum is planned in the budget for 2022, but these are the so-called asylum-related costs, which also include investments and help to combat the causes of flight in the respective countries of origin.
Just one example: The EU trust fund for Africa is intended to combat the causes of flight and irregular migration in Africa and now has a volume of 4.5 billion euros, almost a quarter of which comes from Germany.
18. What is the federal government actually doing to encourage people to return voluntarily? To this end, the return support program REAG was created in 1979, which has since supported 700,000 voluntary departures in over 100 countries.
The BAMF website states: “The ‘Reintegration and Emigration Program for Asylum-Seekers in Germany’, or REAG for short, has been the most successful and largest nationwide humanitarian aid program for years to promote voluntary departure. In 1989, ten years after its introduction, the Government Assisted Repatriation Program, or GARP for short, created another component to provide financial support for those returning.”
With the “Ordered Return Law”, the federal government is trying to make it more difficult for rejected asylum seekers to prevent their deportation.
To this end, it is introducing a new toleration status for people whose identity is unclear. Detention pending deportation and detention pending departure have also been made easier.
However: In the first half of the year, only 60,000 rejected asylum seekers were deported. However, around 300,000 rejected asylum seekers are required to leave the country.
19. What is included in this program? How much help a returnee can receive depends, among other things, on their nationality and is organized differently in the individual federal states and the authorities responsible for deportation.
Among other things, the program provides support for people with the ticket costs for the trip and also to help them with the organization.
In addition, medical support – such as a wheelchair service or an accompanying person – is possible during the trip and up to three months after arrival, up to a maximum of 2000 euros.
There is also a one-off grant of up to 1,000 euros per person. However, the support is not the same for everyone, the BAMF says: “People from certain countries who were able to enter Germany without a visa receive less money for the trip.
These are: Republic of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, Republic of Moldova, Republic of Serbia and Ukraine.”
20. Even in the days of Angela Merkel, there was a lot of talk about European distribution keys and a pan-European solution to this problem. Does this European unification meanwhile exist?
no An EU solution for dealing with and distributing refugees is still pending. Also because some Eastern European countries such as Poland and Hungary reject any form of immigration. However, some countries, including Germany, the Netherlands and France, have committed to helping each other.
Gabor Steingart is one of the best-known journalists in the country. He publishes the newsletter The Pioneer Briefing. The podcast of the same name is Germany’s leading daily podcast for politics and business. Since May 2020, Steingart has been working with his editorial staff on the ship “The Pioneer One”. Before founding Media Pioneer, Steingart was, among other things, Chairman of the Management Board of the Handelsblatt Media Group. You can subscribe to his free newsletter here.