May 27, 2024

Asylum in Germany: A payment card against misuse is coming – News

  • The German Bundestag decided on a unified legal basis nationwide to issue a payment card for refugees and asylum seekers.
  • In the future, they should receive part of their living expenses in the country as credit and not in cash anymore.
  • Among other things, this aims to prevent migrants from transferring money to smugglers or family and friends abroad.

The German Parliament voted in favor of it on Friday with a majority of the votes of the ruling parties – the Social Democratic Party, the Greens and the Free Democratic Party – and the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany party, among other parties, also voted in favor of it. The opposition CDU/CSU and the left as well as the Green MP voted against it.

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The state of Bavaria introduced the first payment card for asylum seekers at the end of last March. There is now a pan-German legal basis. (03/20/24)

Imago/Sven Simon

“The payment card can be used to pay for goods and services in everyday life, as well as groceries at the supermarket, a visit to the hairdresser or a ticket at the machine,” said Interior Minister Nancy Weisser (SPD).

“However, the possibility of withdrawing cash is limited, taking into account the individual case and local circumstances. The decisive point for us is that remittances and cash transfers abroad are no longer possible.”

The federal states are allowed to decide on the details

Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) and the prime ministers of the federal states agreed to introduce the card on November 6th.

The law now stipulates that service authorities can decide for themselves how much money cardholders can withdraw within a certain period of time. This takes into account “individual needs and local circumstances”.

Asylum seekers in Germany;  Before that payment card

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The payment card aims to prevent migrants from transferring money abroad – to their families or to smugglers who still owe them money. (Photo: 04/05/24)

Imago/Sven Simon

The police union (GdP) warns against keeping cash given to refugees too low. Refugees are often pressured to cover their families' medical costs in their country of origin or owe money to smugglers. Those affected should not be pushed into crime.

The CDU/CSU called for monetary restrictions

The Green Party did not consider the need for a unified list at the national level. However, they agree with the regulation that has now been set, as it is now certain that no one will be forced out of society as a result, said the group's vice president Andreas Audretsch.

CDU MP Detlev Sieff explained that the card is not a magic solution, but it could help ensure that fewer asylum seekers move to Germany within Europe. His party colleague Kay Whittaker condemned the project and described it as insufficient because cash payments were not limited to 50 euros per month as requested by the union, and there was no priority for payment cards.

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