• 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
Germany grapples with enigma of Munich gunman
A debate is already underway as to whether Germany's gun laws, which are already strict, should be tightened further. Photo: AFP

Investigators were seeking clues on Sunday into the mind of gunman David Ali Sonboly, the teen author of one of Germany's bloodiest killing sprees.

Munich shooting
 Social media a blessing and a curse in Munich shooting
The Munich gunman may have hacked a Facebook account to lure some of the victims to the McDonald's fast-food outlet where the shooting began. Photo: DPA

Social networks were both a curse and a blessing in the deadly shopping mall shooting in Munich, as police sometimes found themselves chasing fictitious leads and false alarms.

Munich shooting
Munich pulls together after shopping mall shooting
Photo: DPA

In the chaos after the Munich mall shooting, city residents spontaneously offered shelter to strangers - a move that Chancellor Angela Merkel said showed that Germany's strength lies in its values.

Munich shooting
Merkel deplores 'night of horror' in Munich
Photo: DPA

Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday said Munich had suffered a "night of horror" after a shooting spree in the southern German city left nine people dead.

Munich shooting
Munich attacker was shy video game fan
People laying flowers at the site of the shootings. Photo: DPA.

David Ali Sonboly was a quiet, helpful teenager who loved playing video games. His neighbours say there were no warning signs before his deadly rampage at a Munich shopping mall.

Munich shooting
Munich gunman inspired by rightwing Breivik: police
Photo: DPA

The lone teenager who shot dead nine people in a gun rampage in Munich was "obsessed" with mass killers such as Norwegian rightwing fanatic Anders Behring Breivik and had no links to the Islamic State group, police said Saturday.

Munich shooting
Turks, Kosovans and a Greek among shooting victims
Photo: DPA

Three Turkish citizens were among the nine people killed in Germany's Munich mall shooting. Three Kosovans were also among the nine victims.

Munich shooting
Munich gunman was likely not Isis terrorist: police
Flowers laid at the Olympia Shopping Centre underground station. Photo: DPA

According to initial investigations by Munich police, the young man who went on a shooting rampage in Munich on Friday evening was a lone gunman without motive, not a terrorist.

Munich shooting
'Lone' Munich shooter kills nine, commits suicide
Photo: DPA

A teenage German-Iranian gunman who killed nine people in a shooting spree at a busy Munich shopping centre and then committed suicide had likely acted alone, German police said Saturday.

As it happened
Nine dead in shooting rampage in Munich
File photo: DPA

Nine people are dead after "at least one person" went on a shooting spree in a Munich shopping centre on Friday evening. An attacker is believed to be among the dead.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Analysis & Opinion
Nice was an attack on France, not on Germany
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
National
Bavaria train attack: Were police right to shoot to kill?
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Travel
Six soothing day trips to escape the bustle of Berlin
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
National
Five things to know about guns in Germany
Sponsored Article
Health insurance for expats in Germany: a quick guide
Culture
10 things you need to know before attending a German wedding
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
National
Eight weird habits you'll pick up living in Germany
Lifestyle
Six reasons 'super-cool' Berlin isn't all it's cracked up to be
Society
Only one country likes getting naked on the beach more than Germany
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Lifestyle
23 ridiculously fascinating things you never knew about Berlin
Culture
8 German words that perfectly sum up your 20s
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Lifestyle
Can't make it past the door at Berlin's most famous club? Help is at hand
Business & Money
Why Frankfurt could steal London's crown as Europe's finance capital
Features
6 surprising things I learned about Germany while editing The Local
Culture
Five sure-fire ways to impress Germans with your manners
10,713
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd