What is relocation?

This tool involves relocating individuals in need of protection from one member state of the European Union to another EU member state. The bases for relocation programmes are joint decisions of European Union member states. Relocation is a solidarity programme, as it aims to relieve pressure on individual member states, particularly those located on the external borders of the EU. In the past, around 250 African refugees were admitted to Germany from Malta as part of the “Intra-EU Relocation from Malta Project”.

Foto: UNHCR/Andrew McConnell

What current relocation programmes exist in the EU?

Because of the great increase in the immigration of people seeking protection within the European Union, in 2015 two new relocation programmes were agreed upon. In May 2015 a relocation programme for 40,000 individuals from Italy and Greece was passed by the European Union. This was followed by a further relocation programme for 120,000 people seeking protection in September 2015. Under these resolutions, a total of 160,000 individuals from Greece, Italy, and Hungary are to be admitted by various EU countries within 2 years. Following the resolutions, Hungary refused to participate in the relocation programme so the relocations only come from Italy and Greece. As part of the relocation programme, Germany agreed to admit over 27,400 individuals.

According to the European Commission, Germany has already admitted 5,391 people from Greece and 5,446 persons from Italy. Among them are Iraqi and Syrian families as well as minors (as of October 30, 2018). You can find up-to-date Information on this matter on this website under the heading “Current Admissions” Furthermore, having a look at the website of the European Commission is worthwhile. The admissions of all EU member states are listed here and an interactive map stating all relocation admissions by November 22, 2017 is provided by the European Asylum Support Office.

How does the current relocation programme work?

The selection of protection-seeking individuals in the currently ongoing relocation programme is based on proposals by national offices in Italy and Greece, with the support of staff of the EASO. BAMF [Federal Office for Migration and Refugees] grants approval for admission in a later stage. This involves individuals who have already applied for asylum in these countries and among whom a high protection rate of at least 75% is expected. People seeking protection who have already applied for asylum in another European country are not considered for the relocation programme by the national offices.

The individuals admitted to Germany via relocation must complete the full asylum procedure after arrival in Germany. They are first of all registered in a national reception centre at Erding near Munich and then distributed among the federal states by applying a special distribution formula (Königssteiner Schlüssel). In general, the people are then admitted to another federal reception centre where they officially launch their asylum application in Germany. After registration, the process is the same as for all asylum seekers including an application for asylum and later an interview at the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees.

What are the legal bases for the current relocation Programme?

Individuals who enter via relocation have the same legal status as asylum seekers or asylum applicants. They are currently entitled to the following benefits:

Residence: Individuals entering are first of all given a certificate of arrival at the registration at the initial reception centre. After submitting the application for asylum at a branch office of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, they are given a temporary residence permit under Section 55 AsylG (Asylum Act) for the duration of the asylum process.

Social security benefits: The individuals receive benefits under the Benefits for Asylum Seekers’ Act (Asylbewerberleistungsgesetz).

Work: Three months after receiving the temporary residence permit, these individuals may work if they obtain a work permit from the employment agency (Jobcenter) and the consent of the Immigration Office.

Place of residence: Individuals are required to take up residence in the place determined by the authorities.

Family reunification: They are not eligible for family reunification during the asylum process. Individuals who are then recognised as refugees under the Geneva Convention (Section 25 (II) AufenthG) need to apply within three months after the successful asylum procedure to be eligible for family reunification without further pre-conditions.

Integration: During the ongoing asylum procedure, individuals from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Somalia, and Eritrea may attend an integration course by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees. The integration course covers 600 to 900 hours and in the best case scenario concludes with a B1 certificate.