After the decision to put refugees from Ukraine on an equal footing with local unemployed people from June, calls for a general abolition of the special conditions for those seeking protection have increased. They only receive the normal Hartz IV rate after their asylum application has been approved, or, in the event of a rejection, usually after 18 months.
The chairwoman of the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB), Yasmin Fahimi (SPD), called on Sunday for German refugee policy to be reoriented towards the regulations for war refugees from Ukraine. “I’m thinking of the quick right to basic security, but above all direct access to the training and job market,” she told the Funke newspapers. And: “I don’t really understand why we still maintain this system of differentiation between basic security and asylum seeker benefits.”
Annette Kurschus, the chairwoman of the council of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), recently demanded: “Our goal must be equal treatment for all refugees, on the same level as the refugees from Ukraine are treated.” Pro Asyl also commented accordingly and similar organizations.
The human rights politician Luise Amtsberg from the Greens had already demanded in April that the traffic light coalition had to ensure that “the unequal treatment no longer continued”. She told the “Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung” that “unlike refugees from other countries, those seeking protection from Ukraine have more opportunities in Germany. Unfortunately, this is the result of years of wrong politics.” In the Bundestag election program, the Greens had demanded: “We want to abolish the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act – and with it unequal treatment of refugees that is not constitutionally justified.”
Alexander Throm, domestic policy spokesman for the CDU/CSU parliamentary group, told WELT: “Anyone who speaks of unequal treatment here is simply overlooking the facts. All recognized refugees receive benefits under the Second Book of Social Law and are allowed to work.” Asylum seekers who are still in the asylum procedure “or have no claim to protection receive lower benefits under the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act. Even with that, Germany still has the highest social benefits for refugees in Europe.”
AfD parliamentary group leader Alice Weidel said: “It is good and right that we help the women and children who are fleeing the war in Ukraine quickly and unbureaucratically. However, the AfD parliamentary group considers the transfer of refugees from Ukraine to basic security to be wrong. That’s what the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act is for.” The AfD therefore firmly rejects “now transferring all other refugees to basic security and thus extending the claims for all asylum seekers in Germany”.
The FDP domestic politician Manuel Höferlin replied to WELT that the coalition wanted a new start in migration and integration policy that would do justice to a modern immigration country. “To this end, the traffic light partners are striving for a coherent immigration law. This should offer quick and easy solutions for those seeking protection.”
In the case of the Ukrainians, there is a blanket classification as war refugees, and from June 1st they will receive the same social benefits as other persons entitled to protection and local people in need. At currently 449 euros for a single person, these benefits under the Social Security Code II (Hartz-IV) are 82 euros higher than the benefits for asylum seekers that those seeking protection receive during their asylum procedure. Rejected asylum seekers also receive the lower benefits under the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act, but they are usually treated on an equal footing with refugees and locals after 18 months in the country if they receive a toleration – which is usually the case.
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