Germany's Scholz launches tough immigration policy shift
Peter Oliver in Berlin

Germany could be set for a generational shift in its immigration policy, with Chancellor Olaf Scholz wanting to cut drastically the number of asylum applications the country approves.

He's also looking at ideas from countries like the UK, Italy and Denmark, which include applications being processed outside the country.

"It is our goal that asylum requests and the hearings of the people seeking protection take place at the initial reception center," said the Chancellor. It is widely understood that those centers will be outside of Germany.‌

Chancellor Olaf Scholz is under pressure to cut migration drastically. /Annegret Hilse/Reuters
Chancellor Olaf Scholz is under pressure to cut migration drastically. /Annegret Hilse/Reuters

Chancellor Olaf Scholz is under pressure to cut migration drastically. /Annegret Hilse/Reuters

Tareq Alaows, refugee policy spokesperson for migrant rights group RO ASYL, has hit back at the plan. He told CGTN: ‌"Instead of taking pragmatic measures to accept people in need of protection, the solution to Germany's challenges is now likely to be sought in Türkiye or North Africa.

"It is absolutely unrealistic to expect such deals to be implemented effectively and, above all, in accordance with human rights," he blasted.

The UK Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that the British government's scheme to send asylum seekers to Rwanda was unlawful, dealing a blow to both Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's immigration policy and, by extension, Scholz's plan to similarly offshore migrants.

In the first nine months of this year, Germany accepted 230,000 asylum applicants, more than in the whole of 2022. This has stretched housing capacity, posing difficulties for regional authorities.

Those figures don't even include more than one million Ukrainian refugees that have arrived in the country.‌


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The change of policy from Berlin means that instead of having to negotiate each year with the central government, Germany's 16 states will each receive a sum of around $8,000 USD per person per year for housing.

Scholz's party has been pummeled in the polls, with local elections in the States of Hesse and Bavaria seeing gains for anti-immigrant, far right parties.

Government estimates show the plans could save over a billion dollars from the federal budget. The Chancellor appears to be trying to show he is not soft on migration.

He declared: "I don't want to use big words but I would like to say that I believe this is a historic moment as we sit here. In light of an unquestionably huge challenge with very large numbers of migrants and irregular migration, we have managed for all levels of the state to closely cooperate, which is necessary. People expect this of us."

There will also be an overhaul of deportation rules, supposedly making it easier to remove those whose asylum applications have failed. However, the issue of how that will be implemented remains to be seen. 

There are currently over 200,000 people in Germany who have had asylum applications turned down and cannot be repatriated, some for reasons as simple as there being no other nation who will take them in.

Germany's Scholz launches tough immigration policy shift

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