Amid growing fears of energy shortages—and as it grapples with a spluttering economy combined with ballooning expenditures associated with social welfare benefits—Germany’s left-liberal ‘traffic light’ coalition government, as a part of its plan to drastically overhaul the country’s immigration system, has announced plans to give some 130,000 rejected asylum seekers the opportunity to stay permanently.
Following an agreement that was reached last week among coalition partners, the government is now set to provide one-year residence permits— and a path to permanent residency—to economic immigrants whose asylum claims have been rejected but who were granted so-called Duldung or tolerance status, after officials determined their departures were not feasible, Deutsche Welle reports.
The new system—which Reem Alabali-Radovan, the federal commissioner for migration, refugees, and integration, says will transform Germany into a “modern immigration country”—will give those ‘tolerated’ migrants who’ve resided in the country for at least five years the opportunity to obtain permanent residency.
Commenting on the radical change to the country’s immigration system, Alabali-Radovan said: “We are reshaping Germany as a modern immigration country. A first important step: With the right of residence, there will finally be fair prospects for all those who have been living here on a tolerated basis for 5+ years. We are also opening up access to integration courses for everyone.”
The migration and integration minister’s sentiments were echoed by hard-left interior minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) who, following the agreement, said: “We are a diverse immigration country. Now we want to become a better integration country.”
The new policy, which critics insist will act as a magnet for increased illegal migration, comes as the number of asylum applications in Germany rose precipitously in the first half of 2022, jumping 44% between January and June compared to the same period last week, according to data from the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF).
One of those critics, Alexander Throm, the domestic policy spokesman for the ostensibly liberal-conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party, slammed the government’s course of action, saying that plan would create “massive incentives” for illegal migration into Germany.
“On top of that, the coalition is undermining asylum law with this initiative. There has to be a difference between whether an asylum procedure ends with protection status or whether an asylum application is rejected,” he continued, adding that “if a rejected application also leads to being allowed to stay in Germany permanently, then the asylum procedure itself becomes largely pointless.”
Since assuming the reins of power late last year, the left-liberal traffic coalition has placed open borders, and pro-mass migration policies at the forefront of their political agenda—policies that they’ve continued to stand by despite the deleterious economic and socio-political effects they’ve had on the country over the years.
Robert Semonsen is a political journalist based in Central Europe. His work has been featured in various English-language news outlets in Europe and the Americas. He has an educational background in biological and medical science. His Twitter handle is @R_Semonsen.