Germany is planning to introduce a new law that will require refugees to learn German and integrate with the society to retain permanent residency. Thomas de Maiziere, Germany's Interior Minister, said that around 100,000 more migrants have entered the country so far this year, in addition to around one million that arrived in 2015from crisis-hit countries of Middle East and Africa.
He said the country expects these people to integrate with the locals, else they will have to lose their permanent settlement permit. "For those who refuse to learn German, for those who refuse to allow their relatives to integrate - for instance women or girls - for those who reject job offers: for them, there cannot be an unlimited settlement permit after three years," the minister said in an interview to ARD television.
The move follows the recent setback suffered by Chancellor Angela Merkel's Conservatives in regional polls held in March. People opted for the anti-immigrant party, Alternative for Germany, marking a protest against Merkel's open-door refugee policy. Merkel's coalition partner, the Social Democrats, who also suffered defeat in the regional elections, seem to be in support of the government's new move.
Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel of Social Democrats reportedly told the German daily Bild, "We must not only support integration but demand it." Meanwhile, Austria has already announced that it will cut social benefits to refugees if they refuse to integrate with the society, according to RT News. "Those who are not willing to learn German, who do not want to be part of the labor market, who are not ready to attend an integration course, will face social benefits cuts," Sebastian Kurz, foreign minister, reportedly said at the economic forum in Davos.
"The refugee inflow should be reduced but those, who do have the right to get asylum, should be integrated into society," the minister noted. Austria announced capping the intake of immigrants to 37,500 in 2016 in a complete reversal of social democrat Chancellor Werner Faymann's "open-door" refugee policy of 2014