Germany wants rejected asylum-seekers to voluntarily leave the country and is offering incentives. The idea, outlined by Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, is meant to help with reintegration once back at home.
The German government wants to encourage rejected asylum-seekers to voluntarily return to their home countries with a cash incentive, Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere told newspaper Bild am Sonntag on Sunday.
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.
On top of that, de Maiziere said families can receive up to €3,000 ($3,570) and individuals up to €1,000 if they voluntarily return home by the end of February 2018.
“When you voluntarily decide to return by the end of February, in addition to start-up help you can provisionally receive housing costs support for the first 12 months in your homeland,” de Maiziere said in a direct appeal to rejected asylum-seekers.
According to the news report, in addition to previous payments rejected asylum-seekers can receive money in their homeland for rent, building, home renovations or even basic equipment for a kitchen or a bathroom.
The program is called “Your country. Your future. Now!”
“There are opportunities in your homeland. We will support you with concrete help for your reintegration,” de Maiziere said.
The German refugee support organization Pro Asyl has slammed the offer, calling it an underhanded strategy. “[The government] is trying to entice people to give up their rights in the basest manner,” managing director Günter Burkhardt told the German news agency DPA on Sunday.
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De Maiziere’s offer comes as Bavaria, which deports the most Afghans of any German state, reports problems in finding the people due to be sent back.
The Bavarian Interior Ministry told the weekly Welt am Sonntag that Afghans who discover that they are about to be deported often disappear days before their flight is to leave. It said it suspected that many of the planned deportees, most of whom it says are criminals, were receiving help from German pro-refugee groups to go underground.
German pilots refuse to carry out deportations
In a related development, it has been revealed that many pilots in Germany are refusing to participate in deportations, local media reported on Monday.
Following an information request from the Left party, the government said that 222 planned flights were stopped by pilots who wanted no part in the controversial return of refugees to Afghanistan, which has been deemed a “safe country of origin” in some cases, despite ongoing violence and repression in parts of the country.
Some 85 of the refusals between January and September 2017 came from Germany’s main airline Lufthansa and its subsidiary Eurowings. About 40 took place at Dusseldorf airport, where the controversial deportations are routinely accompanied by protesters on the tarmac. The majority of the cancelled flights, around 140, took place at Frankfurt Airport, Germany’s largest and most important hub.