A German newspaper has reported that migrants with recognised refugee status are taking vacations in the home countries they “fled” from. These refugee holidays are being funded by German taxpayers.
Newspaper Welt am Sonntag reported that migrants are returning to countries such as Syria, Afghanistan, and Lebanon for vacations, and are then travelling back to Germany to continue to receive their welfare payments.
The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) has been aware of this scam for quite some time now. When this government agency sent a written request to Berlin’s employment agencies in June, asking that they report the travel arrangements of migrants granted asylum holidaying in their countries of origin, a spokeswoman for the Federal Employment Agency confirmed that “there are such cases” however, there is “no analysis or statistics on this subject and therefore we do not have information”.
The lack of information is down to data protection laws, however this vacation for refugees is allowed under Hartz IV, the welfare system migrants granted asylum receive. Under this system refugees are allowed 21 days per year of “local absence.” While away, these refugees are allowed to collect full welfare payments.
Receivers of Hartz IV must “notify the local absence, the expected duration, but not exactly where they go to,” the federal agency said, adding that “there is also no legal basis to demand this information.”
Welt am Sonntag reported that even if the migrant told welfare centre staff he was taking a trip to Syria, data protection laws would prevent this information being passed on to the federal agency.
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