Under the new Integration Act refugees will have more rights as well as more responsibilities. The law is to be officially adopted in May of 2016. In detail, the law puts forth the following changes:
Residence Assignments: The state (Germany) should assign recognized refugees under certain conditions a residence. These so-called Residence Assignments are limited to three years. That does not apply to refugees who are working or completing an apprenticeship (Ausbildung) in which he/she is working a minimum of 15-hours a week and earns a minimum of 712 euros.
Residence Permit: Recognized refugees are only able to attain a Residence Permit when they have “sufficient knowledge of German” and are earning their livelihood “predominately” themselves. They must additionally have lived in Germany for a minimum of five years. Up to now there has been a waiting period of three years. In the future, refugees may have a chance of a residence permit after just three years when they have “mastered” the German language and are able to earn the “vast majority” of their livelihood themselves.
Priority Test: Up to now there was a so-called Priority Test. When an asylum-seeker was applying to a job, the job would only be given to him/her when the position could not be given to an applicant with German or other EU-Citizenship. This “Priority Test” no longer applies after 15-months. This change will be in place for the next three years, and only in regions where the unemployment rate is below the national average.
Residency with Apprenticeship: Refugees who are beginning an apprenticeship (Ausbildung) may stay in Germany for the entire length of their traineeship – and provided that they find an applicable job afterwards, the residence may be extended for two additional years.
Integration Courses: The offer of integration courses will be enlarged and the waiting time shortened. Those who do not attend an integration course may have their social benefits shortened or reduced. Refugees who already have introductory German knowledge may also be required to participate in the integration course.
Refusal of Integration: The law should state, that refugees who do not attend integration courses may have their social benefits shortened or reduced.
It should be noted, that as of now this law is still a draft. However it is very likely that it will be adopted.