Who wants to stay must cram

Gunnar Rapp from the immigration authority in Reutlingen: Knowledge of German is essential

Gunnar Rapp, head of the immigration authority of the city of Reutlingen (left), Salem Alfayoumi, Flüchtlinge helfen Flüchtlingen (2nd from left)

In Reutlingen approximately 700 refugees live with a recognition according to the Geneva Convention and 216 refugees with subsidiary protection. For 327 the residence is permitted for humanitarian reasons.

After being recognised as a refugee, many still have the question of how they can shape their future in Germany. It is closely linked to the respective residence permit. These are the conditions that they must meet in order to be able to settle permanently in Germany.

Many are afraid that they can not stay and their future is uncertain. The settlement permit or the permanent right of residence is a goal for many. However, false information on the right of residence circulated on Facebook and among the refugees themselves. In an interview with FHF, the head of the immigration authority in Reutlingen presented conditions and possibilities. Gunnar Rapp: “The settlement permit has to be worked out.”

This applies in particular to refugees who receive subsidiary protection and whose residence permit expires after one year. According to Rapp, they are at a disadvantage compared to recognised refugees. Your first one-year residence permit can be extended for a further two-year period. However, this only applies if the BAMF does not revoke refugee status in the meantime. An unlimited residence permit is granted to refugees with subsidiary protection if they are:

  • have been able to prove a stay in Germany for five years now
  • be able to prove a secure income
  • have sufficient living space
  • have paid into the pension insurance scheme for five years or more, respectively 60 months
  • at least B1 language level
  • have not committed any offenses

Refugees with a recognition according to the Geneva Convention (three-year residence permit) have two options:

Residence permit after three years:

  • The livelihood must be 80 percent secure
  • You must not have committed a crime
  • You need the C1 language level
  • Sufficient living space must be available

Residence permit after five years:

  • the livelihood must be secured to 60 percent
  • you must not have committed any crime
  • there must be sufficient living space available
  • you must have attended an integration course and need at least A2 language level

Many refugees wonder what will happen to them when they study or, for example, when the war in Syria is over. According to Rapp, the same conditions apply to refugees who wish to study and obtain a permanent residence permit. By the way, if students receive Bafög, this is recognised as a livelihood guarantee, which also applies to trainees who receive training support.

When the war in Syria is over and the BAMF cancels refugee recognition, the foreigners authority may grant a different residence permit in individual cases – e.g. only for study purposes, or for training or employment.

Language is one of the most important cornerstones for successful integration. But this is not easy for many people. By the way, not even for Rapp, as he jokingly noted. “As a native Swabian, I have a real problem with High German.”

Anyone who needs help with their residence permit can obtain information from the immigration office. About 400 people visit the office in the town hall every week. Caritas, Bruderhausdiakonie and the Red Cross also offer a migration consultation in the premises of the immigration authority.

Translated by Thomas Bangemann

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