A report from the German Federal Statistical Office claims the amount of money spent on asylum seekers increased last year by 73 per cent, with the government spending a total of €9.23 billion on migrants.
The money was assigned to various people and projects under the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act and totals all the money paid by the federal, state, and local governments in the country. In 2015, the number was close to €5.2 billion, Die Welt reports.
Broken down, the numbers show that each asylum seeker in Germany received a little over €1,000 per month. Under the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act, each individual is entitled to €354 for their accommodation and heating bills. The asylum seekers are also granted cash for food, clothing, and personal hygiene items as well as “pocket money” totalling €135 for individuals and €244 for married couples.
Some experts have claimed that one of the reasons for the increase in spending has been the overall rise in rent prices across the country. Others have pointed out the fact that many municipalities took out contracts for asylum homes which were never filled with migrants.
In the town of Bad Berleburg, home to around 19,000 people, local authorities signed contracts for an asylum home that would house 500 asylum seekers but reports last year claimed that only 21 individuals lived there.
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The home was said to cost the local government €514,697.47 a month to operate, meaning that it cost €24,509 per asylum seeker or a rate around 24 times that prescribed in the Asylum Seekers Benefits act.
Bad Laasphe pays €620,019.63 per month for a migrant home that does not house a single migrant.
The issue of financing the migrant crisis has been a controversial subject for many Germans. While some have claimed the money, which included the entire budget surplus in 2016, would be an investment in the future of Germany’s labour force, many economists have rejected the premise saying mass migration will harm the economy in the long term.
In neighbouring Austria, the costs for migrants have been estimated at €1.8 billion this year which has caused controversy given the entire budget for the Austrian armed forces is only slightly higher at €1.9 billion.