Reduction or withdrawal of reception conditions

Germany

Author

Informationsverbund Asyl und Migration

The grounds for reduction of material reception conditions have been amended in March and in August 2016 and now expressly include asylum seekers.

Material reception conditions can be reduced to the point that only “irredeemably necessary” benefits are granted, for the following reasons:1

  1. A person has entered Germany (solely) for the purpose of receiving benefits – this provision does generally not apply to asylum seekers, since it cannot be alleged that claiming benefits has been their only motivation for entering Germany;

  2. A person has been asked to leave Germany until a certain date and has not left the country, although this would have been feasible – this provision does generally not affect asylum seekers as long as their asylum procedure is ongoing;

  3. A person for whom removal procedures had been scheduled but could not be carried out for reasons, for which this person is responsible – this provision can affect asylum seekers whose application has been rejected as “inadmissible” following a “Dublin procedure;

  4. A person who has been allocated to another European state within the framework of a European distribution mechanism (not including the Dublin system);

  5. A person has been granted international protection in an EU Member State or Dublin State the Dublin or has acquired a right of residence for other reasons in such a state;

  6. An asylum seeker or a person who has filed a secondary asylum application has failed to cooperate with authorities by:

    1. Failure to present or hand over a passport or passport substitute to the authorities;

    2. Failure to present or hand over other documents necessary for the clarification of his or her identity;

    3. Refusal to provide information about his or her identity or nationality in the course of the asylum procedure; or

    4. Failure to keep the appointment for the formal registration of their application at the BAMF;

  7. An asylum seeker whose application has not yet been registered by the authorities has failed to cooperate with the authorities in a manner that the “arrival certificate” cannot be issued.2

In practice, these provisions give full discretion to the responsible aliens' authorities to reduce benefits, but only for the reasons mentioned here; this means that reductions of benefits cannot be imposed for other reasons. Since “irredeemably necessary” benefits have to be granted in any case, reduction in this manner usually means that cash benefits are reduced or withdrawn, but persons concerned still have to be provided with accommodation, food and other basic necessities. It is possible to appeal a decision on reduction or withdrawal. In the light of the decision of the Federal Constitutional Court of July 2012 on the Asylum Seeker's Benefits Act, several courts have decided that any reduction of benefits would be unconstitutional and therefore inadmissible.3

Furthermore, the reduction of benefits may still affect former asylum seekers whose application has been rejected as “manifestly unfounded” or “inadmissible” (e.g. in cases of Dublin decisions) and in whose cases no emergency legal protection has been granted. In such cases benefits can be restored to the standard level at a later stage, e.g. if a subsequent application leads to the opening of a new asylum procedure, or if it turns out that a deportation proves impossible for reasons which cannot be held against the foreign national.

In recent years reception conditions have been affected by overcrowding in many facilities, but apart from that no reductions of benefits have taken place because of the high number of new arrivals.

  • 1. Section 1a Asylum Seekers' Benefits Act, as amended in August 2016.
  • 2. Section 11(2a) Asylum Seekers' Benefits Act, as amended in March 2016.
  • 3. Federal Constitutional Court, Decision of 18 July 2012 – 1 BvL 10/10, 1 BvL 2/11 - asyl.net, M19839.

About AIDA

The Asylum Information Database (AIDA) is a database managed by the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), containing information on asylum procedures, reception conditions, detenti