The German authorities and colleagues from the organization Help for Syrian Refugees (Flüchtlingshilfe Syrien) assured Christian Osterhaus that if he wants to guarantee protection for refugees, he will only be responsible for them until they get an official asylum status. Osterhaus then paid for flight tickets, accommodation, and meals for two Syrian children.
In the West German city of Bonn, where the Osterhaus lives, 450 people guaranteed protection for refugees. In Germany, there are more than 7,000 guarantors who have received an unpleasant letter from work centers in recent months, as well as from city or municipal authorities demanding compensation of refugee costs.
“It’s like a slap, totally absurd,” says Osterhaus, who has been involved in the development and social assistance projects all his life. In recent months, he has collected a number of documents relating to a refugee guarantee dispute. The last letter sent to him by the Bonn Work Center was in June. Osterhaus, according to him, has to pay 7,239 euros and the amount can increase.
The Bonn Work Center based its demand on a law amendment from 2016 when the ruling coalition tightened rules for moving to Germany. According to the new version of the legislation, the Declaration of Commitment does not expire even if the migrant´s status changes.
Work centers continue to send reminders, though notional “debtors” may not pay until the Federal Administrative Court decides, as Deutsche Welle has informed. Even though they wanted to help the Syrians, many Germans cannot afford such expenses.