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Restrictions on refugees' families coming to Germany

Nicole Goebel
August 31, 2017

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière wants to continue the practice of not generally allowing refugees' family members access to Germany. The restrictions apply to refugees under subsidiary protection.

Syrian refugees in Germany
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/P. Pleul

Thomas de Maizière, Germany's interior minister, told the Heilbronner Stimme newspaper that, if reelected, he would continue to restrict refugees' family members joining them in Germany.

"I'd be in favor," he told the newspaper at a campaign event in the south-western city of Heilbronn, defying fellow Christian Democrat, Chancellor Angela Merkel, who said on Tuesday that no decisions on the subject would be made this year and certainly not before the elections on 24 September.

Read more: How refugees are settling into Germany - two years on

Thomas de Maizière
Thomas de Maiziere has spoken out in favor of a definitive policy proposal on refugees' familiesImage: picture-alliance/dpa/M. Kappeler

According to tabloid newspaper Bild, an additional 390,000 people could come to Germany from Syria by 2018 if Germany allowed refugees under subsidiary protection to have family members join them.

'Huge' numbers

De Maizière would not confirm those numbers, but said the numbers would be "huge" and that, on average, there could be one family member coming for every Syrian refugee in Germany.

Read more: Glossary of terms: asylum seekers, refugees, migration

Germany currently does not allow family members of refugees under subsidiary protection. Individuals with subsidiary protection are those who are not recognized as refugees according to the Geneva Convention, but who face a serious threat in their country of origin. This two-year suspension period runs out in 2018.

De Maizière also said he is in favor of blocking the route from North Africa across the Mediterranean. "At the moment, traffickers are deciding who come to Europe and who doesn't. That's not right," he told Heilbronner Stimme.


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