Facts and figures
World-wide an increasing number of people are fleeing from war, terror and discrimination. Many of them flee to secure areas in Europe. Germany grants refugees protection in accordance with the right to asylum anchored in basic constitutional law.
Refugees, asylum-seekers, persons entitled to asylum, and tolerated refugees – what is the difference?
According to the Geneva Refugee Convention a refugee is defined as a person who is outside the country whose citizenship they possess due to well-founded fear of persecution due to race, religion, nationality, gender, belonging to a particular social group of because of their political conviction.
Asylum-seeker are persons who seek asylum (admission, and protection from political and other persecution) in a country whose citizenship they do not possess. Recognised asylum-seekers are termed as persons entitled to asylum or recognised refugees.
Tolerance refers to a "temporary suspension of deportation" of those foreigners obligated to leave the country. It serves only to attest to the foreigner that they are registered and that the enforcement of the obligation to leave has been waivered for a specified period of time.
In Germany the Federal Agency for Migration and Refugees (Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge - abbreviated to "BAMF“) examines the application for asylum. The municipalities have no influence whatsoever over this procedure.
How does the distribution work and who is responsible?
The Federal states are legally obliged to accommodate the asylum-seekers. The state of Baden-Württemberg takes 12.97 % of the refugees to the federal territory. The distribution to the federal states functions according to the so-called Königstein key. This is based 2/3 on the tax revenue and 1/3 on the population of each state.
The allocated asylum-seekers are first accommodated in so-called initial reception centres such as Karlsruhe, Meßstetten or Ellwangen. Here they are registered and given health checks. BAMF - responsible for the asylum procedure - has a regional centre close to the initial reception centres which accepts the first applications and interviews the applicant.
After a maximum of 6 months the asylum-seekers are distributed among the towns and districts in so-called temporary accommodation. The distribution is in proportion to the population. The district of Esslingen receives 5.85 % of Baden-Württemberg's refugees. The town of Nürtingen must accommodate 7.7 % of these. In order to this the district uses collective group accommodation or appartments which are set up, managed and run by the district. The municipalities are legally obliged to assist in the acquisition of land and buildings. During this period in temporary accommodation social care is given by AWO with the help of volunteers.
When a definitive decision has been made on the application and the person has obtained a residence permit, or at the latest after 24 months, the refugee can seek accommodation independently. If they cannot find accommodation the municipality must provide, set up, manage and run low-cost accommodation similar to that of the homeless. During the move to this so-called subsequent accommodation the refugees are supervised by the social services and volunteer work groups.
Who can apply?
According to article 16a of the basic constitutional law of the Federal Republic of Germany all politically persecuted persons are entitled to asylum.
A persecution is classified as political when a person is threatened due to
- belonging to a particular social group
- or political conviction.
Not every negative state measure - even if it is linked with one of the named personal characteristics - represents persecution relevant to asylum. A specific legal infringement must be implied, and furthermore it must be so intense as to aim to exclude the persons concerned from the social community.
Persons who fulfill these characteristics have the right to apply for asylum. The decision is individually granted after intense examination.
General emergency situations such as poverty, natural disasters or lack of perspectives are thus categorically excluded as reasons for granting asylum. Entry into the country via a safe third country also excludes the right to asylum. This applies even if a return to this third country is not possible due to the asylum-seeker failing to make specific mention of the country.
How does the procedure work?
As a rule the asylum-seeker must make his application personally at the regional centre of the Federal Agency for Migration and Refugees (Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge - BAMF). BAMF communicates this appointment using a language intermediary. Whilst the application is being made the asylum-seeker is informed about their rights and obligations during the asylum procedure and this important information is handed to them in writing in their language.
The federal agency creates an electronic file and records the personal data. All applicants for asylum who have completed their 14th year of age are photographed and their finger prints are taken (identification). These measures disclose whether the asylum-seeker has already stayed in Germany at some time in the past - possibly under another name. At the occasion of the application an identification document, the temporary resident permit, is issued
For the purpose of the examination of the asylum proceedings the asylum-seeker is personally interviewed as to their reasons fleeing their country by a member of staff of BAMF. The interview is in principle not public. The participants are the applicant, their counsel (lawyer, legal guardian) and the decision maker. An interpreter serves as language mediator. After the interview the federal agency verifies whether the reasons stated give the right to protection in Germany.
It is the individual fate which is fundamentally decisive in the ruling on an application for asylum. The ruling on the application is issued in a written notification from the federal agency. The reasons for the ruling are given and it is issued to the person involved together with advice on legal remedies and appeal procedures. If the applicant is not represented by a counsel, they also receive a translation of the judgement and the appeal procedures.
What benefits do refugees receive?
Asylum-seekers receive all that they need for day-to-day life: the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act regulates their care. It applies to asylum-seekers, persons to be deported (e.g. those tolerated) and to other foreigners who may only reside temporarily in Germany.
The following benefits are provided:
basic benefits for
- health care and personal hygiene
- durable and household goods
- benefits for sickness, pregnancy and birth
- pocket money for personal every day needs. An adult without income living in shared community accommodation receives around € 325 per month (statusas of 1st March 2015), plus health care benefits.
An adult without income living in their own apartment receives, in addition to the typical rent for the area and health care benefits, € 359 per month (status as of 1st March 2015), plus a one-off lump sum, when needed, for items of furniture. Further persons included in the joint household (children, marital partners) receive benefits on a sliding scale. Under special circumstances there may be further benefits depending on the individual case. The basic benefits are provided in kind.
Further information is available under:
The municipal administration has bundled the expertise of the individual offices into one project in order to execute the necessary tasks more purposefully.
In the early stages a position was created to coordinate the voluntary help and to assist the refugees. On 10th Nov 2015 the municipal council approved further temporary positions in order to cope with the enormous work increase in the office for foreigners, for example. In order to process the numerous applications the office for foreigners and the registry office will be closed to the public periodically. We apologize for any inconvenience. Current information can be found under: www.nuertingen.de