Over 700 pregnant asylum seekers in Berlin have been paying money to German men to get them to claim they are the fathers of their babies to stay in the country.
Under German law, if either the mother or the father have German citizenship their child automatically becomes German.
Police say the scam has become a nationwide phenomenon and the number of cases has risen in recent months. In Berlin alone, they claim that there could be as many as 700 cases, reports Die Welt.
Berlin Public Prosecutor Martin Steltner said that they have found cases in which some men have claimed to be the father of over 10 migrant children.
Many of the pregnant women who seek asylum in Germany come through tourist visas, rather than the migrant routes through North Africa or the Balkans, and then apply for asylum. The German Federal Agency for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) says that pregnancy is not an automatic guarantee for asylum, but each asylum seeker is judged on their own merits.
The money offered to the men to become the legal fathers of the children is sometimes as high as 5,000 euros. It is also thought that notaries and lawyers also financially benefit from the scam. The scheme does not always work out well for the women involved as many become reliant on the men who sometimes turn them to prostitution.
Germany’s Interior Ministry have announced they will take measures with new laws which the ministry said will nullify the citizenship of any children if they believe the mother is involved in the scam.
As Germany attempts to sort through which asylum seekers who have come into the country during the migrant crisis are legitimate and which are not, many have become involved in various schemes to stay in the country.
One such scheme saw migrants claiming they had committed murder to avoid being sent back to home countries which have the death penalty.
Migrants are also converting to Christianity, with critics saying some have done so to remain in Europe since countries like Iran and other Muslim nations sentence those who leave Islam to death.