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Migration and integration Asylum and refugee protection Article Hu­man­i­tar­i­an ad­mis­sion pro­grammes at fed­er­al lev­el

Germany meets its humanitarian responsibilities with several humanitarian admission programmes at federal level, including the German resettlement programme and three admission programmes for especially vulnerable Syrian refugees.


Since 2012, under its resettlement programme Germany has admitted especially vulnerable refugees who have fled their home countries, have little likelihood of returning and few prospects for a better future in the first country that admitted them.

During its first three years as a pilot project, the resettlement programme admitted 300 persons each year: African refugees from Tunisia and Iraqis from Turkey in 2012; Iraqis, Iranians and Syrians from Turkey in 2013; and various nationalities (including Iraqis, Somalians, Sri Lankans, Chinese and Afghans) as well as stateless persons from Syria and Indonesia in 2014. The pilot project was brought to a successful close in late 2014, and the German resettlement programme will now become permanent. Starting in 2015, the programme will admit 500 persons each year.

Background information

The resettlement programme offers long-term residency in Germany to refugees who have fled their home countries. All refugees in this programme, known as "resettlement refugees", have been registered and recognized by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The UNHCR checks whether it is possible for applicants to return to their home country or settle in the first country that admitted them, or whether their only hope for the future is to be resettled in another country.

In Germany, resettlement refugees are issued a residence permit pursuant to Section 23 (2) of the Residence Act. This permit, granted on humanitarian grounds, entitles holders to pursue any kind of paid employment immediately. They are also entitled to claim social insurance benefits in accordance with the Social Code Books II and XII (unemployment benefits), including suitable accommodation. Social insurance benefits are paid until recipients are able to support themselves through their own employment.

They are also entitled to take part in integration courses; if a need for integration is identified, they may be required by a foreigners authority or institutions providing basic security benefits for job seekers to take an integration course.

Federally funded migration advising is also available. Social workers provided by the states also help resettlement refugees look for housing and jobs, in their interactions with government agencies, and with other aspects of daily life.

Humanitarian admission programmes for 20,000 Syrian refugees

The humanitarian situation in and around Syria, in Egypt and in Libya remains extremely difficult. Most German aid for refugees focuses on providing help in the region. Since 2012, Germany has provided about €800 million in total aid related to the Syrian crisis: €396.65 million in humanitarian aid, €317.67 million in structural transitional aid/bilateral assistance (Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development) and €83.5 million for crisis resolution. The Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW) is helping in the region, particularly in the refugee camps in Jordan and northern Iraq, for example by building systems to store and deliver drinking water and dispose of wastewater.

In addition, three federal admission programmes have been set up to take in a total of 20,000 Syrian refugees needing special protection: the first in May 2013 for 5,000 refugees, the second in December 2013 for another 5,000, and the third in July 2014 for 10,000 refugees. So Germany has committed to take in about three-quarters of all Syrian refugees given protection outside the crisis region.

Given the scale of the refugee crisis and the precarious situation of many refugees, especially children, the Federal Ministry of the Interior is pushing the EU to establish a joint admission programme.

The refugee crisis in numbers

As of December 2014, 80,000 Syrian nationals had entered Germany since the conflict began in 2011; about 60,000 of these have applied for asylum, with many more applying each month.

About 110,000 Syrian nationals currently live in Germany.

The first two federal refugee admission programmes have been completed. Refugees admitted through the third federal programme will be selected in early 2015 and travel to Germany in the first half of the year.

Additional information

"We need Europe-wide action on refugees"

State Secretary Haber at the UNHCR pledging conference in Geneva

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More refugees arrive in Germany

State Secretary Haber welcomes refugees at Hanover Airport

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UNHCR - The UN Refugee Agency

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