Germany has launched an additional national return program, called StarthilfePlus.
StarthilfePlus works in cooperation with the Reintegration and Emigration Program for Asylum-Seekers in Germany (REAG) – Government Assisted Repatriation Program (GARP) since 2015, which provides returnees with travel and reintegration assistance.
The StarthilfePlus program, effective as of February 1st, 2017, assists asylum seekers willing to be voluntarily sent back to their countries of origin.
German authorities clarified (German link only) that:
- Eligibility for StarthilfePlus is limited to nationalities from countries with a relatively low asylum recognition rate. This includes nationals of Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran;
- Syrian citizens are not eligible for the program;
- People are eligible for assistance if they have no means of their own, like under
- the REAG/GARP programme;
- The earlier the asylum seeker decides to leave Germany, more significant are the financial incentives provided by the German authorities (see levels);
- The first half of the payment will be given already in Germany, the second in the country of origin, six months later.
“Stage 1”: People who decide to give up their asylum claim and voluntarily return through StarthilfePlus will get a ‘bonus’ of 1,200 euros per person (over 12-years-old).
“Stage 2”: People who get a negative answer to their asylum claim can still voluntarily return through StarthilfePlus and will be provided with 800 euros per person (over 12-years-old) if they don’t appeal the decision of the asylum authorities.
“Transitional stage”: The program can also help rejected asylum seekers who don’t fall in the above categories to quickly voluntarily return home. This includes in particularly foreigners with temporary permission to stay in Germany for international or humanitarian reasons. They may also be eligible for the 800 euros benefit if they decide to leave Germany voluntary in the next six months.
Extra payments (500 euros) go to families with more than four members under 12 years of age.
In all levels of the program, children under 12 will get half of the financial bonus provided to those over 12.