New rules for the immigration of foreigners joining family members
09 May 2018
Federal Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer welcomes the Cabinet’s decision to adopt new legislation on the immigration of foreigners joining family members already in Germany
Today the Federal Cabinet adopted a bill which would revise rules for foreigners immigrating to Germany to join family members who have been granted subsidiary protection here.
“In future, we plan to limit the number of foreigners who can immigrate to join family members granted subsidiary protection status in Germany based on clear humanitarian selection criteria,”, Federal Minister Seehofer said. The law must reflect differences in protection status, he said, also with regard to the important issue of the subsequent immigration of family members.
“If we treated all protected groups the same, with the same rules for family members to join those already here, then the distinction between those granted limited protection and those with full protection would become meaningless.”
He explained that responsible immigration policy needed to distinguish clearly between different groups.
“The bill would implement exactly what is written in the Coalition Agreement,” he said.
The bill would allow members of the core family (spouses, minor unmarried children and the parents of minor children already in Germany) to immigrate to Germany on humanitarian grounds starting 1 August 2018. But their numbers would be limited to 1,000 per month to ensure that Germany is able to integrate them. A maximum of 5,000 visas will be issued in the period from 1 August to 31 December 2018, so if the quota for one month is not filled, the remaining visas can be issued the following month. This arrangement only applies until the end of 2018.
To prevent misuse, the following conditions must be met:
- only spouses who married before fleeing their home country will be eligible;
- no one who has committed a serious crime will be eligible;
- no family members who are considered a potential threat will be eligible;
- the family member living in Germany must have a good chance of being allowed to stay.
The bill would also increase penalties to ensure that parents do not endanger their minor children by sending them ahead to make the dangerous journey to Germany alone.
The bill would also create general grounds for not allowing family members of persons in Germany considered potential threats to follow such persons to Germany. In this way, the bill goes even further than the Coalition Agreement, for reasons of public security. The Federal Government agrees on this point.
Various federal authorities will work together to enforce the new rules. The Federal Foreign Office will make the decisions and inform the applicants on the basis of a legally binding selection made by the Federal Office of Administration on behalf of the Federal Foreign Office.
Federal Minister Seehofer said that the bill would ensure a responsible balance between the interest in reuniting families and the interest in maintaining the ability of admission systems at federal, state and local level to integrate the newcomers.
“In this difficult area for the coalition, we have demonstrated our ability to take action and held to our basic position, namely managing and steering migration while also limiting it,” Federal Minister Seehofer said.