Government budgets €40m for programme amid huge backlog in asylum claims
The German Interior Ministry is offering rejected asylum seekers a hefty bonus to go to their country of origin voluntarily rather than face deportation.
According to Germany’s Interior Ministry, asylum seekers can apply for up to 3,000 euros ($3,700) in financial aid if they opt to return to their countries of origin voluntarily,
The offer is intended to supplement the existing program dubbed StarthilfePlus, which provides help to those migrants who decide to voluntarily return home.
Under the scheme, any participant over 12 years old withdrawing their application for asylum receives €1,200 and families are eligible for up to €3,000.
The German government is trying to incentivize voluntary departures by failed asylum seekers as the country deals with an influx of just below 1 million migrants that arrived from countries including Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq in 2015 and 2016.
For years, Germany has provided rejected asylum seekers and others with financial help to return to their countries, including costs associated with travel and restarting life back home.
The new offer called “Your country, Your future” however, a time-limited programme and will last only until the end of February 2018.The new incentive to leave comes as Germany is struggling with the consequences of Angela Merkel’s “open door” policy towards refugees and migrants flooding out of the Middle East and North Africa.
Some 300,000 asylum seekers had their applications rejected by Germany last year, spelling a surge in deportations compared to 80,000 in 2016. The government has now agreed to cap the number of refugees at 200,000, but authorities are likely to remain swamped with applications for years to come.
However the new program appears quite generous, there is no doubt that for the German government court appeal and deportation processes are costly. The migrants, however, usually spend significantly more to get to Europe than they’re eligible to get on the way back.