• Germany's news in English

Court grants EU migrants German jobless benefits

DPA/The Local · 6 Feb 2014, 15:55

Published: 06 Feb 2014 15:55 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The Court of Social Affairs in Dortmund ruled unemployed immigrants from the European Union could claim Hartz IV unemployment benefits, in a judgment which decided in favour of European Union law over German.

European law states citizens from other EU countries must be treated equally, which includes access to benefits.

But German law grants exemptions by classifying Hartz IV as a “social benefit” which can be denied to EU citizens rather than a “special benefit” which cannot be.

It means EU migrants who are in Germany but are not seeking work are excluded from claiming unemployment benefits. 

It is the latest in a series of contentious benefit cases.

In January, the EU Commission stated jobless migrants should be able to claim German unemployment benefits in a case being heard at the European Court over a Romanian woman who was denied Hartz IV by a job centre in Leipzig. 

The most recent case heard on Thursday involved a Spanish couple who have lived in North Rhine-Westphalia since July 2013 with their four children. They have survived off child benefits and minor jobs.

A job centre in Iserlohn denied them Hartz IV, but the Dortmund court granted the family €1,033 a month, adding that it had “serious doubts” about the compatibility of the German law, which allows people to be excluded from Hartz IV, with EU laws on freedom of movement.

The case comes amid a heated debate in Germany over immigrants’ access to the country’s generous welfare state.

Travel and work restrictions were lifted on Bulgarians and Romanians on January 1st this year allowing them to live and work in Germany like any other EU citizen. It prompted fears of a flood of claims for benefits from eastern Europeans.

Story continues below…

Official figures on the numbers of Bulgarians and Romanians to arrive since January 1st have yet to be published.

But data released by the Federal Employment Office this week showed an increase of 48 percent in the number of Bulgarians and Romanians claiming unemployment benefit in September 2013, compared with the year before.

READ MORE: 'Jobless migrants must get German benefits'

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

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
The Local List
Germany's top 10 most surreal sites to visit
The Upside-Down House, in Mecklenburg–Western Pomerania. Photo: Olaf Meister / Wikimedia Commons

From upside-down houses on Baltic islands to a fairy-tale castle near the Austrian border, Germany is a treasure trove of the extraordinary.

Bavarian critics back Merkel for Chancellor again
Photo: DPA

The Christian Social Union (CSU) have long delayed backing Angela Merkel as their candidate for Chancellor in next year's general election. But now key leaders are supporting her publicly.

Four taken to hospital after hotel toilet bursts into flames
File photo: DPA.

Four guests at a Nuremberg hotel were taken to hospital due to smoke inhalation early Monday morning after a toilet there burst into flames.

Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German towns, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd