Federal Government adopts draft legislation to improve returns
25 October 2023
The bill now enters the parliamentary procedure.
Today the Federal Cabinet adopted a bill presented by Federal Minister of the Interior and Community Nancy Faeser to improve procedures for removing foreign nationals who have no right to remain in Germany and are required to leave the country. The draft legislation provides for measures intended to increase and expedite returns with more effective procedures and more rigorous enforcement of the requirement to leave the country. The bill is also intended to speed up the deportation of criminals and persons considered a potential threat.
Federal Minister Faeser said,
“The draft legislation is intended to make sure that people who have no right to remain in Germany will have to leave sooner. This will increase public support for admitting refugees who truly need our help.
We are providing for a whole package of restrictive measures to increase and expedite returns. We need these measures to be able to continue shouldering our humanitarian responsibility for those who need protection from war and terror – like the 1.1 million refugees from Ukraine. To protect the fundamental right to asylum, we must significantly reduce irregular migration.
Anyone who has no right of residence must leave our country. The number of returns conducted this year is 27% higher than in the same period last year, but many changes are still needed. In very many cases, the new rules will improve our ability to carry out returns. This also includes being able to deport more criminals and people who are a potential threat, and to do so more quickly. That applies especially to those involved in organised crime, which we are combating even more forcefully.
The proposed legislation is designed to meet the needs which the state and local governments have expressed, because they are the ones responsible for carrying out deportations.”
The proposed legislation provides the following measures to increase and expedite returns:
- In line with constitutional and European law, the maximum length of custody to secure departure would be increased to 28 days from the current limit of 10 days. This would give the authorities more time to prepare deportations.
- Under the proposed legislation, members of criminal organisations could be expelled more easily even without a criminal conviction if there is enough evidence indicating that they belong to a criminal organisation. This would be an additional instrument to fight structures of organised crime.
- The draft legislation would also allow the authorities to search homes for documents and data storage media in order to establish the residents’ identity.
- The authorities would also be allowed, under strict conditions in accordance with the rule of law, to enter other areas in collective accommodation facilities to ensure that the relevant persons are in fact present in the collective accommodation facility when they are to be deported.
- Violations of bans on entry and residence would become independent grounds for detention pending deportation.
- People who are required to leave the country and are in detention would no longer be notified in advance of their deportation. And the requirement to announce planned deportations one month in advance would be dropped for people whose deportation was already suspended for at least one year, except in the case of families with children under the age of 12.
- Bans on entry and residence would be immediately enforceable, as would restrictions on where people to be deported can live or travel.
- The proposed legislation would also keep people from filing fraudulent follow-up applications for asylum with the intent of hindering their deportation.
- It would also make it illegal to smuggle children.
- The new legislation would also provide additional grounds for expelling migrant smugglers who are foreign nationals. For migrant smugglers who have been sentenced to at least one year in prison, there would be a serious public interest in expulsion, which would facilitate their deportation.
- The proposed legislation would also provide relief for the foreigeners authorities: specifically, permission to remain pending the asylum decision (Aufenthaltsgestattung) would remain valid for six months instead of the current three months, and temporary residence permits of foreigners eligible for subsidiary protection would be valid for three years instead of one, as would electronic residence permits of foreigners having a permanent settlement permit or an EU long-term residence permit.
The Federal Government bill is available here (in German only): https://www.bmi.bund.de/rueckfuehrungsverbesserungsgesetz