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August 2019: 7 changes affecting expats in Germany

August 2019: 7 changes affecting expats in Germany

August 2019: 7 changes affecting expats in Germany

From daycare fees to cheap tickets for Azubis, there’s plenty of change afoot in Germany this August. Here are seven important changes affecting expats in Germany. 

1. More financial support for families

Thanks to the grand coalition’s new “Strong Family Law”, low income families in Germany will receive more financial support from August 1. The school starter package, which parents can put towards back-to-school expenses such as backpacks and schoolbooks, will increase from 100 to 150 euros. Additional funds will also be available to finance school lunches, tickets, excursions and school trips. The change is expected to affect around four million children. 

2. No Kita fees for low-income families

The “Good Kita Law”, which comes into effect on August 1, will also provide additional assistance to low income families. From the beginning of next month, all families who receive unemployment benefit II, supplementary child allowance (Kinderzuschlag) or housing benefit (Wohngeld) will be exempt from paying Kita (Kindertagesstätte - daycare) fees. Around 1,2 million children across Germany will benefit. 

3. More financial assistance for students

It’s not just young children benefiting from changes this month - extra financial assistance is also being introduced for students in Germany. From August 1 the reform of BAföG - a grant or interest-free loan given out by the German government to help cover living costs and tuition fees - will take place. The maximum amount of financial support will, therefore, increase from 735 euros a month to 835 euros in 2019 and 861 euros in 2020. The maximum income threshold for receiving the allowance will also be increased.

4. Higher allowances for apprentices

Apprentices who no longer live with their parents will also receive more money from the state from August onwards - the maximum allowance for living and housing will increase from 622 euros to 716 euros per month. In August 2020, this will increase again to 723 euros. 

5. Cheaper travel for trainees

Apprentices living in some federal states can also look forward to cheaper transport from August 1. A new apprentice ticket (Azubi-Ticket) will be introduced in Saxony, Berlin and North Rhine-Westphalia, allowing apprentices to ride all forms of public transportation at heavily discounted prices. At some point in the future, students in Berlin might even be able to travel for free. 

6. Integration courses open to more people 

From the start of August, integration courses will also be open to all refugees, even those who aren’t sure if they can stay in Germany long-term. However, this only applies to those who entered the country before August 1, 2019, and have been resident a minimum of three months. The language courses will also be open to other groups of foreigners who were previously excluded. 

7. Changes to DHL Packstation collection process

From August 9, DHL Packstation customers will no longer receive a so-called mTAN number by text message when their package is ready to collect. Instead, they will need to download the DHL app to access a pickup code (Abholcode). When the customer inserts their card and this code into the Packstation, the compartment containing their post opens.

Abi

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Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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