Coalition agreement on refugees The asylum package in outline
Speedier asylum procedures, easier integration, but above all more stringent barriers for asylum seekers: the Federal Government has hastily adopted a series of measures to deal with the refugee crisis. The plans in outline.
Safe countries of origin: The Western Balkan countries Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro have been added to the list of safe countries of origin. Applications of asylum seekers from these countries can be refused generally as "manifestly unfounded" using fast track procedures.
Initial reception areas: asylum seekers are to remain up to six months, instead of the previous three months, in the initial reception areas. The aim is to complete asylum procedures during this initial period and to return rejected asylum seekers from these areas before they can be allocated to the local authorities.
Deportation: This should no longer be announced in advance, to prevent the person concerned going underground.
Benefits: In initial reception areas benefits "as far as possible" should be made in kind instead of cash. Money should be paid only for one month in advance, at a maximum. Those foreigners required to leave the country and have no tolerated residence status will have their benefits reduced.
Health: Health insurance companies in the federal states can be required initially to take on the costs of medical treatment of refugees. They will then get the money back later from the local and state authorities. In addition, the federal states themselves can decide whether to introduce a health card for refugees. The card enables a visit to the doctor without prior bureaucracy.
Integration: Integration courses are to be opened for refugees with good perspectives of staying in the country. This should be possible from November onwards. After three months, asylum seekers and those with a tolerated residence status who are skilled workers could be employed as temporary workers.
Accommodation: The federal government will allow deviations to planning law standards for refugee housing, thus facilitating the creation of refugee accommodation.
Financial support: The federal government is to permanently support the states with the care of refugees in the future. The declared intention is part of the asylum package. This year, states and local councils will be granted an extra billion euros. From 2016, the federal government intends to relieve the federal states with a lump sum of 670 euros per month per refugee, which will be paid during the asylum procedure period. However, the relevant concrete decisions will only be made in November during the discussions on the budget.