In Brief

Germany offers asylum seekers extra cash to go home

Refugee organisation slams government for ‘trying to entice people to give up their rights’

The German government is offering failed asylum seekers an additional cash incentive to return home, as the country struggles to deal with the ongoing migrant crisis.

For years, Germany has provided financial help for those wishing to return to their countries, “including costs associated with travel and restarting life back home”, Deutsche Welle reports.

The new programme, announced this weekend, will offer families an extra €3,000 (£2,600) and individuals up to €1,000 (£880) if they leave by the end of February.

The money is intended to help asylum seekers with rent and other housing costs for up to a year after returning home, interior minister Thomas de Maiziere said yesterday.

But the German refugee organisation Pro Asyl has criticised the offer, calling it an underhanded strategy to reduce the number of migrants, DW reports.

The government “is trying to entice people to give up their rights in the basest manner,” managing director Gunter Burkhardt told the German news agency DPA. 

The social welfare organisation of Germany’s Protestant churches has previously warned that these “get lost” bonuses are responsible for fuelling prejudice against migrants and refugees.

However, some are happy to accept the offer to return home, including one Afghan family that fled to Germany in 2013 after receiving death threats by the Taliban.

“Ever since we are here, we have been having problems finding work, learning the language, and our finances were too little,” the father told DW earlier this year.

The new programme comes as Chancellor Angela Merkel struggles to form a coalition government, with immigration policy one of the sticking points in negotiations.

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