What determines the procedure for asylum seekers

Asylum - who can stay?

Trembling asylum application

When refugees apply for asylum in Germany, they have to go to a branch of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees. As a rule, this is directly attached to an initial reception center. The asylum application is preceded by an identity check. This includes, among other things, that the refugees are photographed and their fingerprints taken.

The Federal Office feeds these into an EU database. If the refugee has already been registered in another country - for example Italy or Hungary - he must go back there. The so-called rendition is feared among the refugees because the living conditions in many other countries are often very poor.

In Italy, for example, many refugees live on the streets or in slums. They have to beg for food, there is no school for the children. Hungary often detains refugees. The basis for the transfer procedure is the so-called Dublin Regulation, which the EU states agreed on in 1990 and which is constantly being modified. Currently, Dublin III applies.

Patience test asylum procedure

If the refugee is allowed to apply for asylum, he will receive a residence permit. This applies until the Federal Office has decided on the procedure. The refugees spend the first time in initial reception centers, where they usually stay for several weeks or up to a maximum of six months.

During this time they are subject to the so-called residence obligation. This means that you are not allowed to leave the responsible district of your immigration office. They are then assigned to asylum seekers accommodation.

The asylum seekers are distributed to the various federal states according to a quota system. They have no influence on the place. But they can move around freely and visit relatives and friends on weekends. However, they usually don't have the money for it. Their presence in the home will also be checked.

Families usually have their own room in asylum seekers' homes, but they can also look for an apartment. The children have a right to go to school. Refugees who have fled alone have to share a room with strangers and usually stay in state accommodation until the asylum procedure has been completed.

From the fourth month of their stay, refugees have access to the labor market. However, the position must be in the vicinity of the asylum seekers' home and in many cases the "priority test" applies. This means that the affected asylum seekers and tolerated foreigners can only start work if a German, European or an employee from a third country with a normal work permit cannot be considered for this position.

This priority check does not apply until after 15 months. As a result - and often due to a lack of language skills - very few refugees work. Only since the introduction of the "Skilled Workers Immigration Act" in March 2020 has this "priority test" been abolished for many occupational fields, so that many asylum seekers can more easily take up a job

Because of the forced inactivity, the crampedness, the lack of privacy and the uncertain future, the refugees usually find the waiting time grueling. On average, people were in this limbo for about half a year in 2019.

However, the range from which the average is calculated is wide. Some asylum seekers receive a decision after just three months, others wait longer than a year and a half.

What the Federal Office is examining

The hearing is decisive for the granting of the asylum application. In it, the refugee describes what he has experienced in his home country to a so-called decision maker of the Federal Office. Often a translator is also present.

The hearings often drag on for several hours. Most of the time, the refugees are under great stress because they are afraid of saying something wrong or forgetting something crucial.

In addition, it is difficult for many to talk about their experiences. Some refugees are so traumatized that they remain silent even when the decision-maker explains to them that their asylum depends on it.

The decision-makers often add country information to the result of the hearing, for example from diplomats or consuls. They also check documents and other evidence presented by the refugees.

The four types of protection are then checked. The decision-makers start with the strongest degree of protection, which is the Geneva Refugee Convention.

This is followed by recognition as a person entitled to asylum in accordance with Article 16a of the Basic Law, the granting of subsidiary protection in accordance with the Asylum Procedure Act and the establishment of a ban on deportation under the Residence Act.

Who can stay for how long

How long an asylum seeker can stay in Germany also depends on the type of protection. If a refugee receives protection in accordance with the Geneva Refugee Convention or Article 16a of the Basic Law, this is accompanied by a residence permit for three years. Afterwards a new check takes place. It is then crucial that the refugee gets by without government assistance and has not committed a criminal offense.

If he meets the criteria, he can stay in Germany indefinitely. In the case of subsidiary protection, the residence permit is only valid for one year, but it can be extended for another two years. A deportation ban is issued for at least one year.

For the last two types of protection, the permanent settlement permit can be issued after five years. In order to come to this time, the refugees have to submit so-called follow-up applications and thus have to submit to the asylum procedure several times.

What happens to rejected refugees

Refugees whose initial or subsequent applications are rejected must leave Germany. In 2019 that was around 22,100 people. If you do not leave voluntarily, you are threatened with deportation. As a rule, refugees have four weeks to prepare for departure. If the asylum application is rejected as "manifestly unfounded", they only have one week. The Federal Republic bears the travel costs. In addition, refugees often receive a small start-up aid.

If they are deported, the refugees are picked up from their homes by employees of the immigration authorities (and often also police officers) without prior notice. You are then only allowed to take a maximum of 20 kilograms of luggage with you and have about half an hour to pack.

At the airport, the refugees have to go to the central reception point of the federal police, which is located in the airport building. The Federal Police checks whether all documents are available and correct. This includes passport, visa, deportation order, flight ticket and a certificate of fitness to fly.

In addition, the officials are checking whether there is still an opportunity to appeal against the deportation. Finally, they also look at the health impression the so-called "Schübling" makes.

If necessary, the federal police switch on the airport clinic. Those who are seriously ill do not fly. In addition, there are independent deportation monitors at the five largest deportation airports (Berlin, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt a. M., Hamburg and Munich) who ensure that the dignity of the refugees is preserved.

When the flight is called, people go with two federal police officers through the transit area to the plane - and from there to the rear entrance. The refugees are then received by the flight captain. Here, too, deportation is not yet certain.

If the flight captain has concerns, for example because a refugee is panicking, aggressive or vomiting, he can refuse to be deported. Most of the time, however, the plane takes off with people.

The toleration

If a deportation is temporarily suspended, one speaks of a tolerance. This can be the case for "urgent humanitarian or personal reasons", for example if the refugee is not fit to travel, has started an apprenticeship in Germany or something similar.

Tolerated refugees are severely restricted. For example, they are not allowed to leave their federal state. This means, among other things, that children and young people are not allowed to take part in school trips. However, exceptions are made in individual cases. Today, tolerated refugees can start a job from the fourth month of their stay in Germany. After four years they have free access to the labor market.

Duldungen are issued by the immigration authorities and must be renewed again and again. Tolerated refugees often feel powerless against the authorities. Especially since the non-extension of a Duldung leads to immediate deportation.