• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Germany to lock out 'cheating' EU migrants

AFP/DPA/The Local · 27 Aug 2014, 17:30

Published: 27 Aug 2014 08:54 GMT+02:00
Updated: 27 Aug 2014 17:30 GMT+02:00

Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Bavarian allies the CSU especially have demanded that EU benefit cheats be expelled, using the slogan "those who lie, fly".

Under the draft bill agreed by cabinet, EU citizens who fraudulently receive social benefits will be sent home and temporarily prohibited from re-entering Germany.
   
Citizens of other EU countries in Germany would also be expected to find work within six months of arriving, under the bill that must still be passed by parliament.
   
Foreign applicants for child benefits will meanwhile be given tax ID numbers to stop fraud, such as families drawing multiple allowances for a child.
   
Conservative Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière insisted Germany, Europe's largest economy, was not limiting the free movement of people within the EU, a core principle of the 28-nation union.
   
Germany opened its labour market at the start of this year to citizens of Bulgaria and Romania, which both joined the EU in 2007.
   
The arrivals from the Balkan countries have sparked negative newspaper headlines as they have been concentrated in certain cities, including Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich and Duisburg, where migrant families often live in poor conditions.
   
Under the plan announced Wednesday, the government would also spend more than €200 million over a number of years to help towns and cities which have attracted unusually large numbers of EU migrants with housing and other expenses.  

SEE ALSO: Thousands leave Germany for Bulgaria and Romania

Story continues below…
Labour and Social Affairs Minister Andrea Nahles, a Social Democrat, stressed that many of the newcomers from eastern EU countries are skilled workers, often doctors attracted by better income prospects in Germany.
   
The total number of Bulgarians and Romanians living in Germany has risen from 35,000 in 2004 to 181,000 in 2012, but de Maiziere and Nahles both said the phenomenon of "poverty migration" was not widespread.
   
The new measures have been labelled populist by some critics, and Greens party lawmaker Wolfgang Strengmann-Kuhn told national news agency DPA that "the government should stop fighting problems that do not exist".

Boost in benefits

As well as the tightening of rules dealing with migrants, the government will introduce a new bill to increase benefits for asylum seekers to subsistence levels.

The move follows a decision by the Constitutional Court last year that the government was not doing enough to take care of people fleeing persecution. It will be the first increase in support for asylum seekers since a law setting out how asylum seekers should be treated was passed 19 years ago.

People who have been in Germany for more than 18 months and who are unable to return to their home countries will be transferred into the general social security system. They will receive benefits equal to the normal levels of social help after 15 months, rather than waiting four years as was previously the case.

This will have a knock-on effect of taking the burden off the towns where asylum seekers live.

The government also hopes to take measures to improve healthcare for asylum seekers in a future bill.

SEE ALSO: Over 100,000 foreigners get German citizenship

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

AFP/DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Erdogan to Berlin: be sensible on Armenia genocide bill
Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Photo: DPA

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday called Angela Merkel to ask for "common sense" over a resolution recognising the massacre of Armenians by Ottoman forces as "genocide", local media reported.

3 asylum seekers arrested for sexual assaults at music fest
The Schlossgrabenfest in Darmstadt. Photo: DPA

Update: Police in Darmstadt have received 14 complaints of sexual assault from women who attended a music festival in the city over the weekend.

Dalai Lama says there are 'too many' refugees in Europe
The Dalai Lama. Photo: DPA

The Dalai Lama said in an interview published Thursday that Europe has accepted "too many" refugees, and that they should eventually return to help rebuild their home countries.

Footballer Özil’s Mecca visit was unpatriotic, say AfD
Mesut Özil. Photo: DPA

When national football star Mesut Özil posted a picture of himself in Mecca on Facebook it received 21,000 ‘likes’. But Germany’s far right party see it is an act of provocation.

Star winger axed from Germany Euros squad
Marco Reus. Photo: DPA

Marco Reus endured more injury heartache with Germany on Tuesday - his 27th birthday - as he was cut from their final Euro 2016 squad, two years after missing the World Cup.

Every third child in Berlin now dependent on welfare
Photo: DPA

Child poverty is on the rise across Germany. But in the national capital and Bremen the situation is particularly severe.

Kraftwerk defeat makes Germany safe for DJs
A Kraftwerk stage show. File photo: DPA

Techno pioneers Kraftwerk have lost a near 20-year court battle over sampling - making the practice A-OK in Germany for the first time ever.

Hanover teen stabbed police officer 'on orders from Isis'
A police officer standing on a platform at Hanover main station. Photo: DPA

A 15-year-old girl who knifed a policewoman at Hanover's main train station in February may have been acting under orders from Isis terrorists, media reported on Tuesday.

Support for Merkel govt dips below 50 percent
Chancellor Angela Merkel (l) and Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel (r). Photo: DPA

Germany came in for a political first on Tuesday as a new poll showed combined support for Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition government dropped below 50 percent for the first time.

Med rescuers share human cost of refugee crisis
A refugee boat capsizes in the Mediterranean off the Libyan coast on May 25th, in an accident in which five people lost their lives. Photo: Marina Militare/Italian Navy/DPA

GRAPHIC CONTENT WARNING: A photo of a dead migrant baby pulled from the Mediterranean was published by a charity hoping to force European leaders to grant migrants safe passage, after hundreds were presumed to have died at sea last week.

Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
National
The future belongs to these 10 German regions
Society
Pegida enraged by black children on chocolate bars
Health
New father's tragic herpes warning touches 1000s online
National
Bayer's Monsanto takeover would be 'diabolical': environmentalists
Lifestyle
10 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
Politics
MP recites explicit Erdogan bestiality poem on live TV
National
China beats Germany in readiness to help refugees
Hamburg
The headless sex doll that put Lübeck police on high alert
National
Pensioner claims to have found hidden Nazi nukes
Business & Money
Here's why Munich is worth 20 times more than Berlin
Culture
Five sure-fire ways to impress Germans with your manners
Lifestyle
6 things about Munich that will stay with you forever
Technology
Church plans to connect with faithful at Wi-Fi 'Godspots'
Technology
Online hate speech can cost users thousands of Euros
Society
Bavarians in rush for non-lethal weapons licenses
Sport
Here's Germany's Mannschaft for Euro 2016
Culture
The Syrian pianist playing his way into Germans' hearts
The parrot who flew fast enough to trigger a speed camera
Technology
New law could let free Wi-Fi bloom across Germany
Politics
Berlin's plans to beef up the German army
7,813
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd