Holders of the German passport can travel visa-free or have visa-on-arrival access to about 189 destinations around the world/ Photo: Femi Awoniyi

Germany: 5 very important legal changes that entered into force in 2019

These are very important amendments to laws or new regulations – affecting withdrawal of German citizenship from dual nationals, minimum wage, HIV prophylaxis etc – that entered into force in the course of 2019:


Minimum wage rises

The statutory minimum wage (der gesetzliche Mindestlohn) rose from 8.84 euros to 9.19 euros on 1 January 2019. From 2020, employers will have to pay at least 9.35 euros per hour.

Withdrawal of citizenship of naturalised nationals

Amendments to the German law on citizenship (Drittes Gesetz zur Änderung des Staatsangehörigkeitsgesetzes) went into effect on 9 August 2019.

The changes are:

  • A German with dual nationality who without the approval of the Federal Ministry of Defence joins a foreign terrorist militia or the armed forces of a foreign state of which he is a national will be stripped of their citizenship. The amendment does not apply to minors.
  • A person in a polygamous marriage is excluded from being naturalized as German citizen.
  • A German with dual nationality proven to have lied or committed fraud (through deception or bribery or by intentionally providing incorrect or incomplete information) in their application to become naturalized as German can have their citizenship revoked up to 10 years after naturalization. Previously, the deadline was five years.

HIV prophylaxis for statutory health insurance patients

Since 1 September, the prophylaxis drugs against the AIDS-causing HIV virus are mandatorily paid for by all statutory health insurance companies (gesetzliche Krankenkassen). According to the health insurance company DAK-Gesundheit, the new preventive drug therapy can prevent HIV infection with 96% certainty. Experts hope that “PrEP” (pre-exposure prophylaxis) significantly reduces the number of new infections.

New law for quicker deportation enters into force in Germany

The so-called ‘Orderly Return Law’ (das Geordnete-Rückkehr-Gesetz) went into force on 21 August. It gives the authorities and the police more powers to enforce deportation orders. As these often fail because of lack of travel papers, asylum-seekers must now help to clarify their identity.

If they do not do so, they will only receive a temporary residence paper, “tolerance for persons with unexplained identity” (Duldung für Personen mit ungeklärter Identität), which is associated with many disadvantages such as benefit cuts, not being allowed to work and being required to live in a certain place (Wohnsitzauflage) that they cannot leave without official permission.

Less money for asylum-seekers

Since 1 September, cash benefits for asylum-seekers have been cut as a result of changes in the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act (Asylbewerberleistungsgesetz).

Single persons and single parents who do not live in a collective housing facility now receive 344 instead of 354 euros per month.

Couples living in an apartment or shared accommodation receive 310 euros (instead of 318 euros).

For adults under the age of 25, who still live in their parents’ household, the allowance drops from 284 to 275 euros. The same applies to adults who live in a stationary facility.

For underage asylum-seekers, the rule changes as follows:

          – Teenagers (14 to 17 years): 275 instead of 276 euros

          – Children (6 to 13 years): 268 instead of 242 euros (plus 26 euros)

          – Children (up to 5 years): unchanged at 214 euros

Asylum-seekers and tolerated persons who are in vocational training or studying can now receive benefits under the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act after the 15th month of residence in Germany.

Femi Awoniyi

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