New rules to increase and expedite returns
25 October 2023
The Federal Government today approved a bill presented by Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser to improve returns.
Today the Federal Cabinet adopted a bill to improve procedures for removing foreign nationals who have no right to remain in Germany and who are required to leave the country. The draft legislation is intended to speed up the process of deporting these persons and returning them to their countries of origin. By doing so, the legislation would significantly help to reduce irregular migration. The number of returns conducted this year is 27% higher than in the same period last year, but many more changes are still needed, according to Federal Minister Faeser.
“To protect the fundamental right to asylum, we must significantly reduce irregular migration,” the federal minister stressed.
“We are providing for a whole package of restrictive measures to increase and expedite returns. We need these measures to be able to continue shouldering our humanitarian responsibility for those who need protection from war and terror – like the 1.1 million refugees from Ukraine.”
Package of measures for more effective returns
The draft legislation provides for various measures intended to make returns more effective. These measures include increasing the maximum length of custody to secure departure to 28 days from the current limit of 10 days. This would give the authorities more time to prepare for deportation. The draft legislation would also allow the authorities to search homes for documents and data storage media in order to establish the residents’ identity, for example. Further, the authorities would no longer have to announce planned deportations in advance, except in the case of families with children under age 12. Violations of bans on entry and residence would become independent grounds for detention pending deportation.
Deporting criminals and potential threats more quickly
Under the draft legislation, members of criminal organisations could be expelled more easily even without a criminal conviction, if there is enough evidence indicating that that they belong to a criminal organisation. The new legislation would also provide additional grounds for expelling migrant smugglers who are foreign nationals. Smuggling minors would be a punishable offence, and it would be easier to remove convicted migrant smugglers who have been sentenced to at least one year in prison. With this bill, the Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community is creating new and effective instruments to combat organised crime. Federal Minister Faeser emphasised,
“In very many cases, the new rules will improve our ability to carry out returns. This also includes being able to deport more criminals and people who are a potential threat, and to do so more quickly. That applies especially to those involved in organised crime, which we are combating even more forcefully.”
The proposed legislation would also provide relief for the foreigners authorities. Permission to remain pending the asylum decision (Aufenthaltsgestattung) would remain valid for six months instead of the current three months, and temporary residence permits of foreigners eligible for subsidiary protection would be valid for three years instead of one, as would electronic residence permits of foreigners having a permanent settlement permit or an EU long-term residence permit.
Bill to improve returns
Eingebettet Bill to improve returns (available in German only)