According to reports from the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, from 1990 to 2015, 4 million foreigners applied for asylum in Germany. Most of them are citizens of Syria, Afghanistan, Albania, Serbia, and African countries. Due to the difficult political situation in the Middle East, more than a million refugees arrived in Germany in 2015 alone. However, according to statistics, only 50% of applicants receive asylum, since very good reasons are required to stay in the country.
The refugee receives various rights and benefits depending on the type of asylum granted. But the most important and, perhaps, attractive for migrants in the immigration policy of Germany is that after 3 years of residence in the country, a foreigner will be able to obtain permanent residence, after another 5 years – to obtain citizenship.
Potential refugees – who are they?
Citizens of any country can obtain refugee status and the right to temporary asylum in Germany if their stay at home is impossible due to:
- political views
- religious beliefs
- sexual orientation
- racial and national conflicts
- martial law in the country
Reasons related to the economic situation in the country or the criminal history of the immigrant are not grounds for obtaining refugee status.
As a rule, recently the most common situation when a foreigner needs asylum is martial law in the country. Political asylum is issued to all family members of the applicant and entitles them to official work or study.
Acceptance of immigrants and granting them asylum in Germany is regulated by a special law, which is recommended to be studied in detail before going to Germany.
The main condition for obtaining refugee status is the legal crossing of the German borders and arrival in the country directly from the home state. That is, if a foreigner traveled to Germany, stopping in other countries along the way, he will no longer be able to obtain asylum.
Upon arrival, you must immediately apply for asylum. This can be done at the nearest police department or the border authority (customs at the airport, train station, and so on). The main thing is not to answer the question about the purpose of arrival with standard phrases about tourism or visiting relatives, but to declare the real purpose – the asylum application.
According to statistics, an application submitted through airports or train stations is processed faster. After applying, the migrant is sent to the Office for Foreigners, where he is photographed, fingerprinted and all the required information is entered into the asylum application file.
Then the consideration of the application begins. The term takes from one to two months to several years. While waiting for the decision, the refugee is provided with housing (special camps), food, and benefits for necessary needs. It is prohibited to work or study in Germany while the application is being processed.
Life is waiting
For the first three months after their arrival, the refugees live in specialized camps. At first glance, places like this may seem a little gloomy: residential areas with several buildings, enclosed by a fence. However, there is everything you need for temporary accommodation: rooms (though small – 6.5 square meters per person), bathrooms, a dining room, a medical center, and a police department. Each camp can accommodate up to 850 people. The largest refugee settlement is in Dresden: just over 1,000 people live there.
During the stay in the camp, the biography of the visitor and the grounds for obtaining asylum are carefully checked. The refugee’s words about oppression and the difficult situation at home must be backed up by facts. Also at this stage, it is checked whether the immigrant has applied for asylum in another country, in which case it will be impossible to obtain shelter in Germany.
After three “camp” months, visitors are assigned to regions of Germany, where they are accommodated in more comfortable hostels and sometimes even in apartments provided by municipalities or charitable organizations. Migrants are still not allowed to work, but they receive a monthly allowance of 382 euros and are covered for housing and utilities. True, the “housing issue” was resolved only for 15 months. If, after this period, the decision on granting asylum has not been made, the refugee will have to apply to the Office for Foreigners again and look for housing on his own.
After the refugee, the application has been considered and his biography and the grounds for applying for asylum have been checked, the visitor receives a letter inviting him to an interview with the Immigration Service. It is highly recommended to arrive on time and, if possible, hire a lawyer and translator. During the interview, the applicant will be asked about everything that brought him to Germany. It is imperative to provide only reliable information, otherwise, the foreigner will be deported or even arrested. If the migrant comes with his family, then all relatives, even children, are interviewed.
A few days later, the Federal Immigrant Office makes the final decision. The result may be as follows:
- granted asylum in Germany for 3 years, with the right to work, study, and even health insurance and other social benefits from the state. Children are guaranteed free education in preschool institutions and general education schools;
- the official status of a refugee is granted, taken under the protection of the German Republic for up to 1 year, also with the right to work and study, but without state benefits.
In the first two cases, refugees immediately receive a temporary residence permit, an apartment in one of the regions of the country, and the opportunity to attend free German courses. After three years, the refugee status is re-checked. If no problems arise, the foreigner will be able to apply for permanent residence and then even apply for citizenship.
Another possible outcome is the temporary granting of asylum until the end of hostilities at home. In this case, the refugee is not allowed to work or study, but continues to receive a monthly allowance and live in municipal hostels.
If the applicant has provided false information or the reasons for hiding in Germany are considered insufficient, the refugee is denied asylum and must leave the country immediately.
In any case, it is worth remembering that the guarantee of obtaining asylum in Germany is legal, crossing the border, real reasons for hiding, and reliable facts. Even though statistics speak only about 50% of cases of positive decisions, it is possible to emigrate to Germany in this way.