German chancellor Olaf Scholz made a strong stance against immigration regulations at the start of the year. He endorsed the large scale elimination of asylum seekers who are denied entry in an exclusive interview with Der Spiegel. Introduced in the first part of 2023 the Repatriation Improvement Act is a reform proposal that seeks to increase the number of deportations while also improving the process’s efficiency.
Government statistics reveal that 7,861 individuals were deported in the initial half of 2023. The Repatriation Improvement Act introduces key changes, including the cessation of advance deportation announcements, an extension of asylum detention to 28 days, and heightened police powers for searches and property access.
Targeting Criminal Elements:
Efforts to swiftly deport individuals involved in smuggling and suspected criminal associations, even without convictions, are underway. Interior Minister Nancy Faeser emphasizes the need to act more consistently and quickly against potential threats posed by such individuals.
With nations like Georgia, Moldova, Kenya, Colombia, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan, Germany is actively negotiating. Even though these agreements might not have an effect on asylum seekers from important source nations like Syria Afghanistan and Turkey they support the larger plan to designate more nations as “safe countries of origin.”
Simplifying Asylum Procedures Suggested legislative amendments seek to cut the duration of the asylum application procedure from more than two years to three to six months.
Asylum-seekers undergoing the asylum procedure are poised to receive fewer benefits. Welfare payments, currently accessible after 18 months, will now be available only after 36 months, with the cost of food deducted for those in state housing.
Card-Based Benefit System:
To prevent the transfer of money to relatives in the home country, several German cities and states are transitioning to a card-based system for benefits. Hannover has already implemented its “social card,” and Hamburg and Bavaria are set to follow suit in 2024.
Skilled Labor Immigration:
While asylum-seekers face tougher conditions, recent reforms focus on attracting skilled labor to Germany. A points system, based on language proficiency and professional experience, grants eligible immigrants a one-year visa, with lower income requirements and provisions for bringing more family members.
Expanding EU Blue Card:
To address labor shortages in critical sectors like healthcare and education, the EU Blue Card is set to expand its coverage. Foreigners from outside the EU can work in Germany while awaiting qualification approval, with a maximum stay of three years, including dependents.
Increased Quota for Western Balkans:
To further encourage skilled labor immigration, the special immigration quota for individuals from Western Balkan countries is set to double to 50,000 in June.
Germany’s 2024 immigration policy is a comprehensive approach that strikes a balance between efforts to attract skilled workers and tighter regulations. The changes are intended to improve security, expedite procedures, and make the nation a more desirable place for people looking for work.