06 June 2014

A draft bill, presented to both chambers of the German Parliament at the end of May, aims to give asylum seekers earlier access to the labour market. If the proposal is adopted, asylum seekers will be allowed to take up employment after three months of lodging their asylum application, while currently they are not allowed to work for nine months.

The new law would also add Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia to Germany’s list of safe countries of origin. Applications of asylum seekers from countries deemed to be safe -which now include Ghana and Senegal in addition to the EU countries- are considered as manifestly unfounded on the assumption that in these countries persecution is unlikely to occur. Applicants from these countries have to demonstrate that the presumption of safety does not apply in their individual case.

Detailed information on these developments is provided in the updated AIDA Report on Germany, compiled by Informationsverbund Asyl und Migration. The report also shows that following a change in German law in December 2013, family members of people with subsidiary protection status (i.e. people recognised as fleeing war, torture or inhuman or degrading treatment) now enjoy similar rights as family members of refugees. They are able to benefit from “family asylum”, under which core family members (parents and siblings) may join a refugee living in Germany even if the requirements necessary for family reunification are not fulfilled, in particular, the requirements of sufficient living space and sufficient financial resources.

This report is part of the Asylum Information Database (AIDA), a project of the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), in partnership with Forum Refugiés-Cosi, the Hungarian Helsinki Committee and the Irish Refugee Council. AIDA focuses on asylum procedures, reception conditions and detention of asylum seekers in EU Member States.

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This article originally appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 06 June 2014.
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