Germany’s federal and state governments have budgeted 10 million euros to help failed migrants return to their homelands, although the real cost may be far higher.
Authorities have had a programme in place for years to give money to rejected asylum seekers and others who wish to go back to their native land. While the program has been around for a while the government is now trying to draw attention to it due to the current influx of migrants, hoping that many will decide to go home rather than stay in Germany.
Just this week 125 Afghans were sent back to their home country. The symbolic gesture by the German federal government is meant to make current migrants think about returning to their homelands instead of staying in Germany. Figures recently released by Spiegel Online show the various sums migrants get to return home.
The first cost is obviously travel. Most migrants from the Middle East and Central Asia are often given one way plane tickets, usually to the capital city of the country though sometimes they are given train tickets or even 250 euros worth of fuel in the case of migrants from countries like Albania or Bosnia.
Each migrant then receives what is called travel aid. This is 200 euros for anyone over the age of twelve and 100 euros for any children. There has been some abuse of this by migrants from the western Balkan states like Kosovo and Albania leading to a suspension of payments after large amounts of people saw the scheme as a way to travel to Germany with multiple children, earn a few hundred euros and go right back to their country almost like getting paid to go on holiday.
Another scheme is called “jump start.” For many migrants from selected countries, they receive 500 euros per person regardless of whether they are an adult or not. Migrants from Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Nigeria, Pakistan and Ghana all qualify for this program though currently Syrians do not and receive far less money.
Many migrants from these countries tend to have large families and costs can add up quickly if a family of six or seven wishes to return they could be looking at a windfall of 3,000 to 4,000 euros. This programme is also not available for migrants from the western Balkans region due to the already existing abuse of the travel aid.
The cost of these programmes is paid for by German state and federal governments who have currently budgeted 10.1 million euros for migrants who wish to return home. If every migrant who came last year wished to take advantage of the program the cost would be much large, with at least 600 million euros for jump start costs alone.
The budget for the European Asylum, Migration and Integration fund is much larger at 3.1 billion Euros and would more than likely cover most of the costs if every migrant wished to return home.
The costs of accommodating migrants in Germany is much higher than sending them back to their countries leading to the push to get many to return home voluntarily. The IFO institute calculated that residence and care costs alone for migrants total 21 billion euros for the German taxpayer.
Estimated costs of integration and training run the numbers even higher with some reports that countries like Sweden will see a cost of 43 billion pounds and others debunking the idea that migrants will be a boon to the economy as many politicians had promised at the beginning of the crisis.