The German government has approved legislation to allow asylum-seekers to start working sooner and to stiffen punishment for migrant smugglers. This is part of a series of steps taken by the government to address migration as a major political issue.
The issue led to a poor showing in state elections for Chancellor OIaf Scholz’s three-party coalition and gains for a far-right party. Last week, ministers approved legislation to ease deportations of unsuccessful asylum-seekers. Scholz is expected to hold a meeting with Germany’s 16 state governors on migration responses. Shelters for migrants and refugees have been filling up across Germany, and the country has seen over 1 million Ukrainians arrive since Russia’s war began. The government is also grappling with a shortage of skilled labor.
Germany’s Interior Minister Nancy Faeser announced that asylum-seekers will be allowed to start working after three to six months in the country, down from nine months currently. The plan aims to attract more skilled workers and utilize the professional potential of those already living in Germany. Those whose asylum applications failed but cannot be deported will be allowed to work in the future. However, those from “safe countries of origin” with no case to stay or refuse to disclose their identity will not be allowed to work. Faeser also mentioned expanding integration courses for newcomers to learn German.
The new rules in the Philippines aim to integrate migrants into the labor market and signal a crackdown on people smugglers. The government plans to punish most smuggling offenses with a minimum of one year in prison, up from six months currently. For smuggling resulting in death, sentences range from 10 years to life, with the possibility of life sentences. Police will be entitled to tap suspected smugglers’ cellphones in all cases of smuggling offenses. The aim is not to create an incentive system, but to encourage early employment for migrants.