Rejected asylum seekers should receive same social benefits as unemployed, says Germany’s top union boss

Many of the migrants who arrived in 2015 and 2016 were forced to wait until they received full benefits, but Germany's new left-wing government is being urged to change course. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, file)
By Kristýna Čtvrtlíková
5 Min Read

In the past, asylum seekers received German Hartz IV social benefits after 18 months in the country, however, Ukrainian refugees receive full support immediately. Now, the new head of German Trade Union Confederation (DGB), Yasmin Fahimi, wants all asylum seekers to receive the same benefits at the same time, including even for those who had their asylum claims rejected.

“I do not understand why we still maintain this system of distinguishing between basic security and asylum seeker benefits,” Fahimi told journalists.

So far, asylum seekers have only received basic security welfare after a year and a half. If immigrants are recognized as refugees, they receive Hartz IV benefits only from when their application is approved. Now, according to Fahimi, the funds should flow immediately.

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As Remix News has previously reported, there are an estimated 43,000 asylum seekers in Germany who by law should actually be in Greece, as that is the first country they registered in. These economic migrants have been identified as taking vital housing accommodations from Ukrainian refugees, who are often women and children versus economic migrants from Middle Eastern and African countries, who are often young men. Delivering benefits to all asylum seekers will likely exacerbate Germany’s migrant crisis, place more burdens on the housing market, and add billions in expenses to an already overburdened German taxpayer.

Nevertheless, Germany’s most pro-migrant organizations and political parties are lining up behind the proposal.

“Our goal must be equal treatment for all refugees, and on the same level as the people fleeing from Ukraine are treated,” claimed the chairwoman of the council of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), Annette Kurschus. The EKD is known for its radically pro-migration stance, but most of Germany’s religious organizations are strong promoters of mass immigration.

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Pro Asyl, Germany’s largest pro immigration advocacy organization, echoed a similar sentiment to the EKD.

The Greens want to abolish the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act and are claiming that refugees are treated unequal and this policy must end.

The Free Democratic Party (FDP) has made similar remarks, with Manuel Höferlin recently telling Die Welt newspaper that the coalition wanted a fresh start in migration and integration policy to become a modern immigrant country.

“To this aim, the traffic light partners strive for coherent immigration law. That should offer quick and easy solutions for those seeking protection,” Höferlin stated.

AfD rejects the proposal

However, both the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Alternative for Germany (AfD) are against these proposals, however, the AfD has offered the strongest pushback.

“It is good and right that we help the women and children fleeing the war in Ukraine to us quickly and unbureaucratically. However, the AfD parliamentary group considers the transfer of refugees from Ukraine to basic security wrong. That is what the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act is for,” said AfD parliamentary group leader Alice Weidel.

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Other members of the AfD have also rejected the proposal, with AfD spokesperson René Springer writing:

“This is exactly what the AfD faction warned about has happened: if the DGB boss has her way, asylum seekers would in the future have direct access to the German basic security system. This would give them full entitlement to all Hartz IV benefits, including accommodation costs and statutory health insurance. Last week, the Bundestag also decided to suspend the Hartz IV sanctions, which means even uemployed people refusing to work may no longer be sanctioned by the job centers. The DGB requirement is nothing more than a basic income for asylum seekers. Germany, which is already a strong immigration magnet, will face even worse pressure.

According to Weidel, therefore, the AfD firmly rejects “transferring all other refugees to basic security and thus extending the claims for all asylum seekers in Germany.”

The CDU also considers the unequal treatment to be justified because the entitlement to protection “was rightly given to Ukrainians from day one” and “no separate examination” was required, but even rejected asylum seekers receive “in Germany the highest social benefits for refugees in Europe,” according to Alexander Throm, the spokesman for domestic affairs for the CDU/CSU parliamentary group.

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