Status: 09.03.2022 13:47
Hundreds of thousands of people have fled Ukraine and many war refugees are also seeking protection in Germany. How are they recorded and distributed, why don’t they have to go through an asylum procedure – and who bears the costs?
How many refugees will arrive?
The Russian war of aggression in Ukraine is driving hundreds of thousands of people to flee. According to the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR, two million people have now fled to countries close to Ukraine, most of them to Poland. It is the “fastest growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War II”. Migration researcher Gerald Knaus believes it is possible that a total of ten million people will flee Ukraine. According to estimates, up to 225,000 war expelled from Ukraine could seek protection in Germany. The Federal Ministry of the Interior is reluctant to make any predictions.
Migration researcher Gerald Knaus on the refugee movement from Ukraine to Germany
How many have come to Germany so far?
Reliable figures are difficult. According to the Federal Ministry of the Interior, more than 80,000 war refugees from Ukraine have been registered in Germany to date. According to the ministry, the number of refugees who have entered the country could be significantly higher because there are no border controls. Most people currently arrive in Berlin by train and bus, the last time around 10,000 people a day. Solidarity and willingness are enormous, but the authorities of the capital are now overwhelmed. “Berlin can’t do it alone,” Mayor Franziska Giffey said over the weekend. More and more people who fled the war in Ukraine are also arriving in Hamburg, Bavaria and the eastern German states.
Exact statistics are not yet available. According to the media, these are mainly Ukrainian women and children, as men between the ages of 18 and 60 cannot leave their country of origin. But there are also third-country nationals in Ukraine, for example a larger community of Indian students in Kiev. You can also get protection in Germany, especially if you have permanent residence in Ukraine.
How is it checked and recorded?
Poor checks and incomplete registration of refugees caused great concern among the population during the 2015 crisis. In the case of Ukraine, citizens have so far been allowed to enter the EU without a visa. According to the Ministry of the Interior, the federal police are increasingly monitoring “the internal eastern borders”. But there are no regular border controls. Faeser justified it Report from Berlin with “a completely different situation compared to 2015”. Also, most Ukrainian citizens still traveled with a biometric passport, he said.
However, requests for controls are on the rise. The German Police Union (DPolG) has called for regular checks at the German borders with Poland and the Czech Republic.
There is still no uniform procedure for registering refugees: Ukrainians should register with immigration authorities or first reception facilities. Refugees receive social benefits only after registration.
Will the refugees be distributed across the EU?
The issue of a distribution key within Europe has been debated for years – to date there has been no result. At least at this point, the issue of distribution doesn’t seem to be the most pressing issue. “If admission works that way,” Interior Minister Faeser told Deutschlandfunk last week, no distribution key is needed for refugee admission. According to Faeser, refugees from Ukraine can currently choose which EU country to take refuge in.
“I believe that now, within the European Union, Ukrainians mainly go to places where they have a lot of friends, relatives and acquaintances,” he said. These countries also included Spain and Italy.
So far, Poland has taken in most of the refugees from Ukraine. Around 50,000 people have been registered in Germany so far.
Is there a national coordination?
No, at least not yet. So far there have only been commitments from the federal government on the distribution of 900 Berlin refugees to federal territory. According to the Federal Interior Ministry, all states have offered to participate in the distribution of people. The interior ministry, together with the federal ministry of transport and other authorities, allowed buses to travel to other federal states from Frankfurt on the Oder “so that fewer people get to Berlin,” a ministry spokesperson wrote. In addition, capabilities would be required from the federal states so that Deutsche Bahn could immediately use buses from Berlin Central Station to distribute more refugees from Ukraine.
What protection do refugees receive here?
Unlike in previous years, war refugees do not have to prove their need for protection individually in a procedure. To this end, an EU directive has been activated since the beginning of 2001, which was aimed at the case of a “mass influx” of displaced persons. The guideline was developed as a lesson learned from the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s and was intended to prevent asylum authorities from being overloaded. This means that the Dublin procedure does not apply to these people seeking protection. “Dublin” stipulates that people must apply for protection in the country where they first entered the EU.
The “temporary protection” for Ukrainian citizens is initially valid for one year. However, it can be extended for another two years. Protection can be denied to people who have committed certain crimes or who pose a threat. On 4 March the EU regulation came into force and on 8 March a corresponding regulation of the Ministry of the Interior was published in the Federal Gazette. Migration researcher Knaus calls this a historic decision.
What does the BAMF do?
In early March, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) did not expect a large movement of refugees to Germany. The federal government must also take urgent action through the BAMF “and create a nationwide distribution system,” said Mayor Giffey. According to your information, this week the authority wants to start distributing people with buses to other federal states. In addition, the employees of the office should help register Ukrainians. Unlike 2015/2016, the BAMF does not have to deal with asylum applications due to the EU mass influx directive.
Distribution is one thing, but who pays?
The German Association of Cities and Municipalities is calling for quick help. Chief Executive Gerd Landsberg said he expects federal and state governments to fully fund refugee assistance. Municipalities are therefore preparing further accommodation options, for example in community facilities and apartments. However, you should be able to rely on the federal and state governments to offset the costs incurred. The federal government is also considering whether it can use its properties to provide additional rent-free buildings as shelter for refugees. Landsberg also suggested integrating refugees into the basic security system. “Then they receive social assistance, health insurance, assistance for kindergartens and schools and for entering the job market”. The federal government bears most of the cost of basic social security. A distribution according to the Königstein key is also conceivable. Regulates the distribution of financial burdens among federal states. Tax revenue and the population are decisive for the share that a country must then bear.
Federal Minister of the Interior Faeser held back with specific financial commitments. In the Report from Berlin he only promised support “so that the burden for the countries does not become too great”.
“It’s a completely different situation than in 2015”: Interior Minister Nancy Faeser
Report from Berlin, March 6, 2022
What benefits do people get?
War refugees initially receive a safe residence permit and benefits under the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act, which are primarily paid for by the federal states. They have no direct right to Hartz IV. Unlike asylum seekers, however, they should have immediate access to the German labor market. The basis is Section 24 of the Residence Act. Here it is stated that refugees with temporary protection can still be self-employed. They can be allowed to work.
Can Ukrainian children go to school in Germany?
Yes, the EU directive provides for access to the host country’s education system. Federal states are preparing to admit children and young people into certain classes – in which, for example, German is also taught as a foreign language.
Is the situation comparable to 2015?
More people may soon be fleeing Ukraine to the EU than arrived in 2015 and 2016, at least that’s what migration researcher Herbert Brücker expects. If the “dramatic development” continued, the 2.4 million refugee threshold would be exceeded, said the head of migration research at the Institute for Labor Market and Employment Research of the Federal Employment Agency of the ” Rhine post “. Never since the great expulsions at the end of the Second World War have so many people fled in such a short time.
However, the situation is not comparable to the crisis of 2015, when mainly Syrian war refugees arrived in Europe and Germany. So this time there is no dispute within the EU over opening borders or admitting refugees. All European countries have declared their readiness to welcome refugees from Ukraine. Escape routes have not yet been closed, nor do refugees have to rely on traffickers.
Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner assumes that the reception of refugees from Ukraine will be easier to manage than the increased influx of refugees in 2015. “Refugees from Ukraine can be expected to be integrated quickly. and well thanks to their qualifications, “said Lindner from” RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland “. “As things stand today, the social consequences will be different from the 2015 refugee crisis.”