In order to relieve the immigration authorities, certain residence permits could be valid for longer in the future. This is what members of a federal, state and local working group that was formed after the refugee summit in the Federal Ministry of the Interior in mid-February are proposing.

A report on the results of the meeting states that the workload could be significantly reduced by extending the period of validity of the residence permit for refugees with limited protection status (so-called beneficiaries of subsidiary protection) from one to up to three years.

Persons entitled to subsidiary protection are those who present valid reasons that they are threatened with serious harm in their country of origin and that they cannot claim the protection of their country of origin or do not want to claim it because of the threat.

According to the paper, the so-called D visa for educational or commercial purposes should be valid for twelve months instead of the previous three or six months. This measure also promises a high potential for relieving the immigration authorities.

The report, which is available to the German Press Agency, goes on to say: “The burden on the local immigration authorities is currently exceptionally high.” Long waiting times for appointments and decisions are the result. The main reasons for the heavy workload are the high level of refugee immigration, including from the Ukraine, as well as several changes in the law – such as the Skilled Immigration Act and the introduction of a so-called opportunity residence permit.

Top meeting in the Chancellery in three weeks

A top-level meeting on refugee policy is to take place in the Chancellery on May 10. The main focus should be on the question of further financial support from the federal government for the accommodation and care of refugees and asylum seekers.

The President of the German District Association, Reinhard Sager, summarized that changes in administrative procedures, the handling of official processes and digitization have made progress together in the working groups. “But none of this should hide the fact that this isn’t a great achievement overall,” he added. Especially when it comes to the issue of financing refugee spending by the municipalities, the federal government must do much more than it has done up to now.

Over 28,000 unaccompanied minor refugees

Another problem that was addressed at the meetings of representatives of the federal states, municipalities and the federal government is the care of unaccompanied minors seeking protection. According to the report, in mid-March there were 28,442 unaccompanied minor refugees or young adults who were responsible for youth welfare. The fact that the number of young refugees to be cared for has increased again last year after a year-long decline has something to do with the war in Ukraine. However, many unaccompanied minors also came from Syria, Afghanistan and Turkey.

“We also need a noticeable limit on immigration and clearer progress on repatriation,” said the president of the municipal umbrella organization. The report of the working groups states: “The federal states submitted extensive legal changes with regard to the Residence Act, but also the Asylum Act and the Central Register of Foreigners Act as well as other related legal matters, which should be addressed in the short term with regard to making deportations more effective.”

Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said in March that a comprehensive reform of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) was urgently needed. If an agreement does not succeed, “then the Schengen area with open internal borders is in great danger”. With a view to irregular migration, the SPD politician recently ordered a further extension of stationary border controls at the German-Austrian land border.