Germany earmarks 2 billion euros to support Ukrainian refugees
The leaders of Germany’s 16 federal states have put together a financial agreement to support and help integrate refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine. The federal government will provide 2 billion euros to help Ukrainian refugees find jobs and housing, and attend school and German language courses.
Ukrainian refugees to be included in German social security system
At a lengthy summit on Thursday afternoon, the state premiers and Chancellor Olaf Scholz ironed out the details of an agreement to share the cost of supporting refugees arriving in the federal republic from Ukraine.
Responding to requests for support from some states like Berlin and Brandenburg, the federal government agreed to contribute 2 billion euros to support them in the task of integrating and accommodating refugees. 500 million euros of this will go towards accommodation and living expenses, while 1 billion euros will cover other costs like childcare and integration measures in schools.
It was also agreed that Ukrainian refugees will be legally admitted into Germany’s social security system as “recognised asylum seekers” from June 1, making them eligible to receive basic subsistence benefits (colloquially known as “Hartz IV”) of around 400 euros per person per month, as well as giving them easier access to job centres, healthcare and German language courses.
The leaders further agreed that refugees from Ukraine should be allowed to work in Germany immediately, with immigration authorities directed to expressly allow them to take up employment when issuing residence permits. The Federal Employment Agency’s approval will not be required, as is sometimes the case with working residence permits.
More than 300.000 Ukrainian refugees have arrived in Germany so far
Scholz said that the move would make it easier for Ukrainian refugees to remain in Germany and integrate into society. “The agreement is a good basis for our country to stand together in the long term,” he said.
Franziska Giffey, the mayor of Berlin, added, “It will enable people to arrive well here in Germany. Potential can be used, talents can be fostered, and children and young people can also have a perspective here.”
So far, around 316.000 Ukrainian refugees have arrived in Germany, according to figures from the federal police. Around 60.000 are currently living in Berlin.