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Germany cracks down on asylum seekers as it makes major change

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Germany has launched a crackdown on asylum seekers with a new system being introduced.

A new rule has seen people attempting to gain residency in the country issued with a benefits card which is for local use only and limits cash withdrawals as well as banning international transfers.

The new card, which has recently received parliamentary approval, will only be able to be used at local stores and for services in an attempt to prevent migrants from sending money to family and friends abroad or to smugglers.

In Eichsfeld, Thuringia, Laca, 45, from Albania and her family were among the first in Germany to receive half of their government benefits as cashless payments on a plastic card.

She told Euronews: “With half the money that is on the card, I can buy groceries, and with the other half in cash I can buy in every shop whatever I need for me and my children.”

Germany is more reliant on cash payments than many other European countries, with some businesses still not accepting card payments.

But the new card has seen problems, with some people find their card is not being accepted in a number of shops.

Jihad Ammuri, a 20-year-old asylum-seeker from Syria, said he had struggled to use his card in a number of places.

He told Euronews: “I tried to make a purchase in a shop, but they told me that they do not partner with this card. You can’t buy with it from here. And it’s also not working in all of Germany.”

Migrant charities have also hit out at the card, saying it is discriminatory and claiming that it will possibly ostracise vulnerable people further.

Wiebke Judith from Pro Asyl said: “It must be stated clearly that people are coming due to civil war and persecution; a payment card won’t deter them.

“The aim here is to create an instrument of discrimination and to bully refugees.”

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