Is it possible to buy a place on a resettlement programme?

©dpa

No. Within the context of the resettlement programme, Germany and other EU countries permanently take in refugees particularly in need of protection directly from their country of residence. It is not possible for people to apply for inclusion in the programme themselves. Refugees are selected in the country of first admission by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) according to its specific protection criteria. The need for protection is the main factor in the strict criteria for acceptance on the resettlement programme. The final decision is taken by the respective country of admission. 

Germany has agreed to take in a total of 10,200 people for the years 2018 and 2019. The acceptance criteria for the resettlement programme are very strict.

Iraqi refugees, Hannover Airport, Germany ©dpa

Need for protection is the deciding factor

Only people who have been recognised as refugees by the UNHCR in their country of residence and are classed as being particularly in need of protection have any prospect of resettlement. That is mostly the case when the chances of returning are very slim and there is also no prospect that the person will be able to live a normal life in the country of admission. Special consideration is given to old people, sick people and children as well as victims of torture and violence. 

The UNHCR assesses who is in principle eligible for the resettlement programme.

An Afghan girl @dpa

Several-stage procedure

The decision on whether refugees may become part of the German resettlement programme is made in a several-stage process. To start with, the UNHCR selects people who are in principle eligible. At the next stage, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees conducts interviews to decide which of these candidates will actually be accepted. In this process, great care is taken not to separate families. 

In Germany, recognised resettlement refugees are allowed to work, are entitled to social security payments and can participate in an integration course. Before travelling to Germany, they participate in a three-day preparation course which covers topics such as education, housing and finding employment in Germany. 

Upon their arrival in Germany, the resettlement refugees first spend two weeks in Friedland refugee transit camp in northern Germany. During this period, induction courses provide them with an introduction to the culture and language as well as general information on life in Germany. In addition, individual sessions are available as part of migration support services, where individual and practical questions can be addressed in a confidential setting, for example regarding medical care, housing or dealing with red tape in the new place of residence. Following their time in Friedland, the refugees are distributed among the municipalities in the various Länder.