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Germany imposes major change on asylum seekers with new benefits card



The German government has introduced a new system to crack down on asylum seekers abusing state benefits.

In the new protocol, anyone attempting to gain residency in the country is immediately issued with a benefits card.

The Bundestag has introduced the new scheme


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.”


Bavaria's State Premier Markus Soeder (right) and Bavaria's Secretary of State for the Interior Sandro Kirchner (left)

Bavaria’s State Premier Markus Soeder (right) and Bavaria’s Secretary of State for the Interior Sandro Kirchner (left) with the benefit card


One of the first to receive their card was Thuringia, Laca, 45, from Albania and her family in Eichsfeld.

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.”

The number of people applying for asylum in Germany last year rose to more than 350,000. This is an increase of just over 50 per cent compared with the year before.

The largest number of asylum-seekers came from Syria, followed by Turks and Afghans.


Hard right AfD party has seen a rise in support


In January, lawmakers approved legislation intended to ease deportation of unsuccessful asylum-seekers.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has repeatedly said that authorities need to speed up deportations ahead of the European elections on June 9.

The AfD, known for its anti-migration stance, is expected to significantly increase its share of the vote from the 10.3 per cent it secured in the 2021 federal election.

However polls have shown the hard right’s party dipping following a series of controversies, including revelations that senior AfD figures attended a meeting where mass deportations were allegedly discussed.

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