Germany introduces cost playing cards for asylum seekers to stop transferring cash exterior nation

Germany introduces cost playing cards for asylum seekers to stop transferring cash exterior nation

When Erdina Laca goes grocery purchasing in Eichsfeld as of late, she pulls out a particular cost card that’s for asylum-seekers solely.

She now not pays in money for her apples, eggs and fish — like many of the Germans standing in keeping with her on the register.

Laca, 45, got here from Albania along with her husband and three kids and utilized for asylum in Germany final September. The household lives within the county of Eichsfeld within the jap state of Thuringia and has been one of many first within the nation to obtain half of their authorities advantages within the type of cashless funds on a plastic card.


“With half the cash that’s on the cardboard, I can purchase groceries, and with the opposite half (in money) I can purchase in each store no matter I would like for me and my kids,” Laca mentioned.

The brand new rule, which was handed by parliament final month, requires asylum-seekers to obtain their advantages on a card to be used at native retailers and to pay for companies. They may solely be capable to withdraw restricted quantities of money and will not be capable to switch cash exterior Germany. The intention is to stop migrants from sending cash to household and pals overseas, or to smugglers.

Migrant advocates teams have criticized the brand new regulation as discriminatory — particularly because it’s being carried out in a rustic that is nonetheless way more cash-centric than many different European international locations and the place some companies, particularly eating places, will not even settle for card funds.

Erdina Laca, a 45-year-old asylum seeker, exhibits her particular cost card in entrance of a grocery retailer, in Eichsfeld, Germany, on April 24, 2024. (AP Picture/Ebrahim Noroozi)

They are saying individuals fleeing battle and persecution will not be deterred from coming to Germany simply because their advantages will now not be paid out in money solely. As a substitute, they declare that the cost playing cards will single out migrants and should presumably add to them being ostracized additional.

“It must be mentioned fairly clearly that individuals are coming due to civil battle and persecution — they will not be deterred by a cost card,” mentioned Wiebke Judith from Professional Asyl. “The intention right here is to create an instrument of discrimination and to bully refugees.”

Germany has been attempting to clamp down on migration for months, and this newest measure comes simply weeks earlier than the European Union election on June 9.

Germany’s far-right Different for Germany occasion, or AfD, has been efficiently exploiting Germans’ hardening attitudes towards migrants. AfD, which takes an anti-migration stance, is predicted to make vital positive aspects in comparison with the ten.3% that the occasion received over the last federal election in 2021.

Attitudes towards migration have hardened in Germany as giant numbers of asylum-seekers have arrived, along with refugees from Ukraine, and native authorities have struggled to search out lodging.

The variety of individuals making use of for asylum in Germany final yr rose to greater than 350,000, a rise of simply over 50% in contrast with the yr earlier than. The most important variety of asylum-seekers got here from Syria, adopted by Turks and Afghans.

In January, lawmakers authorized laws meant to ease deportation of unsuccessful asylum-seekers. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has repeatedly mentioned that authorities want to hurry up deportations.

Germany, like a number of different European international locations, has additionally began classifying some international locations, similar to Moldova and Georgia, as “protected international locations of origin” — which means asylum-seekers from there will be shortly rejected and deported quicker than prior to now.

Eichsfeld, the place Luca and her household dwell whereas their asylum plea is being processed, was one of many first counties to introduce the plastic cost playing cards, which look just like ATM or bank cards. The small city began handing them out to asylum-seekers in December.

The laws offers native authorities latitude to determine on exemptions and on how a lot money asylum-seekers can withdraw. Eichsfeld determined to pay out about 50% of the month-to-month advantages for asylum-seekers in money, with the opposite half happening the cost playing cards.

Whereas Laca does not have any issues with the modifications, county officers say that some migrants don’t love the brand new playing cards.


“We’ve got loads of nationalities who grew up with money — they don’t know how one can pay by card,” says Thomas Dreiling, who runs an area shelter for asylum-seekers. Nonetheless, he helps the brand new system as a result of he thinks that having much less money out there shall be an incentive for migrants to search for work and thus get off authorities advantages.

Jihad Ammuri, a 20-year-old asylum-seeker from Damascus, Syria, mentioned not all shops have been accepting his cost card and he’s been turned away from some locations.

Dreiling mentioned that of the about 400 asylum-seekers who had been slated to get the cost playing cards in December, greater than 50 mentioned “no” to the cardboard and left Germany — most of them residents from North Macedonia and Georgia. One other 40 individuals have discovered work within the meantime and now not obtain authorities welfare funds.

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Written by bourbiza mohamed

Bourbiza Mohamed is a freelance journalist and political science analyst holding a Master's degree in Political Science. Armed with a sharp pen and a discerning eye, Bourbiza Mohamed contributes to various renowned sites, delivering incisive insights on current political and social issues. His experience translates into thought-provoking articles that spur dialogue and reflection.

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