HousingAt the latest with the asylum and refugee recognition, you also have the right to move into your own apartment. The job centre or the social welfare office will pay the rent as long as you do not have your own income. However, there is a maximum limit for “reasonable” rental costs.
- Ask an advice centre or the local tenants’ association up to what amount the job centre or the social welfare office has to pay the rental costs for you and your family.
Unemployed young people under the age of 25 who move out of their parents’ home may not receive social support for their home and only 80 per cent of unemployment benefit II.1 Residence requirement Since the Integration Act came into force, asylum seekers and GFK refugees can no longer freely decide where they want to live in Germany. If you have been recognised since 01.01.2016,2 your residence permit will be subject to a residence requirement.3 However, there are considerable doubts as to the compatibility of this regulation, in particular with Art. 33 of the EU Qualification Directive.4 According to the new regulation, you must remain in the federal state to which you were assigned during the asylum procedure for the first three years after recognition.5 If you moved to another federal state before 06.08.2016, you can and must stay there.6 Further restrictions, such as the obligation to live in a certain place,7 do not currently exist in Lower Saxony.8 However, Lower Saxony has determined that if you have not already been assigned to the cities of Salzgitter, Delmenhorst or Wilhelmshaven, you are generally not allowed to live there for the first three years. Therefore, your residence permit is generally subject to the condition that you are only allowed to take up residence in the territory of the state of Lower Saxony, but not in the cities of Delmenhorst, Salzgitter and Wilhelmshaven.9 A residence regulation may not take place if you commence vocational training or study with a social insurance-liable employment relationship of at least 15 hours per week and a salary of € 710.00 net.10.11 In principle, the submission of a corresponding employment contract is sufficient. If the Aliens Department does not believe that the employment relationship is sustainable or serious, it must explain the reasons. A sustainable employment relationship exists if it is expected to last more than three months.12 If a residence requirement exists, it must be lifted if13
- you or your spouse, registered partner or minor child have an employment relationship (at least 15 hours per week and a salary of at least € 710.00 net) or a training or study place that is subject to social insurance contributions in another place, or you receive an income there that secures your livelihood
- According to the Nds. decree of 07.11.201614, the prerequisite for lifting the residence requirement also exists if you take part in a vocational orientation or vocational preparation measure in order to be able to subsequently commence in-company vocational training or if you attend vocational preparation measures (language courses preparatory to studies, preparatory college). In addition, the residence requirement must be lifted if there is a case of hardship. A hardship case is above all (“above all” means that it can also exist in other situations) if15
- the Youth Welfare Office estimates that child and youth welfare benefits and measures (SGB VIII) would be impaired by the residence requirement
- for other urgent personal reasons, the transfer to another country has been promised16 or
- for other reasons comparable unreasonable restrictions arise for you.
According to the Nds. decree of 10.08.201617 there may be reasons for a hardship case, especially in the case of particularly vulnerable groups such as children and adolescents as well as people with disabilities etc. The residence requirement must be lifted if it is “contrary to the welfare, social development, safety and security considerations or the special needs of children and adolescents in particular”. Examples of reasons for lifting the residence requirement are given:
- special care needs for people with disabilities
- the residence requirement binds a violent or violently affected partner to the residence of the other partner, it opposes a protection order according to the Protection against Violence Act or other measures necessary for protection against violence
- sustainable and lasting improvement in the care of persons in need of care because of their age or because of their illness or disability.
If the residence requirement is lifted, you can also move to Salzgitter, Delmenhorst or Wilhelmshaven.18 According to Nds, the following applies to local foreign authority jurisdiction:19
- cross-border relocation cases immediately after recognition: responsibility of the removal foreigners authority with the consent of the removal foreigners authority
- subsequent repeals and amendments: Jurisdiction of the Foreigners’ Exit Authority with the consent of the Foreigners’ Immigration Authority
- If you move between 01.01.2016 and 05.08.2016: responsibility of the foreigners authority at the place where you have already moved.
With a settlement permit, you can later move within Germany wherever you want.20
- If the Aliens Department refuses to allow you to move, ask a lawyer or an advice centre for advice.
Travelling is largely unproblematic for you. As a recognised refugee, you are basically allowed to move freely within Germany. In theory, the Aliens Department could mark your residence permit with the remark that you are only allowed to stay in a certain area, e.g. in a federal state (residence obligation or spatial restriction).21 However, this may only be done in exceptional cases if it is necessary “to safeguard public interests”, e.g. to prevent criminal offences.22 However, Art. 26 of the Geneva Refugee Convention and Art. 33 of the Qualification Directive must be taken into account, according to which beneficiaries of international protection must be granted the same freedom of movement as other third-country nationals.23
- If, despite this, a territorial restriction is noted in your residence permit, you should take legal action against it. Apply for the requirement to be removed. If the Aliens Department rejects the application, file an objection, preferably with the help of a counselling centre or a lawyer. If the objection is also rejected, you can sue in court. You should also inform the Refugee Council of Lower Saxony about the behaviour of the Foreigners Authority.