For refugees, harder rules will apply in the future
What exactly has the Grand Coalition decided?
The most important change is the temporary suspension of family reunification, which should reduce the number of incoming refugees. Specifically, this means that refugees with limited (subsidiary) protection may not bring their family to Germany for a period of two years.
This rule applies to refugees who can not rely on the fundamental right to asylum and who also do not enjoy protection status under the Geneva Refugee Convention, but who are not deported because they face torture or the death penalty at home. Excluded are relatives of refugees (mostly Syrians) who are still in refugee camps in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon. They should be brought primarily with contingents to Germany.
What else is changing?
In future, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia will be classified as "safe countries of origin". Purpose: Asylum seekers from these three countries can be sent back to their homeland faster. Especially from Morocco and Algeria, many refugees came to Germany at the end of 2015. Asylum seekers from "safe countries of origin" want the coalition to be housed in new reception centers where their asylum applications can be processed faster. They are no longer allowed to leave the district of their immigration office - otherwise they will be deprived of benefits and their asylum procedures suspended.
Also new is that asylum seekers have to pay ten euros per month for their integration courses. In addition, health-impaired refugees should be deported faster than before - unless it is a serious illness.
What reactions are there to the asylum package?
The opposition is not very enthusiastic about the Asylum Package II - some politicians have already made their displeasure on Twitter air:
New #Asyl package of the Grand Coalition creates two-class refugees and is a stimulus program for tugs. //t.co/wS6VtKp3AP? Sahra Wagenknecht (@SWagenknecht) January 29, 2016
The #GroKo #Family Reunion plans contradict everything we know about #Integration. #Asylpaket? Katrin Göring-Eckardt MdB (@GoeringEckardt) January 29, 2016
For the human rights organization Pro Asyl, the suspension of family reunification is a "serious encroachment on the fundamental right to live together as a family", forcing those affected to take illegal paths. The new rule will enliven the business of smugglers and tugs. Bundestag Vice President Claudia Roth called the steps taken towards ZDF "very regrettable."