On 23 December 2013, the German Federal Ministry of the Interior released the directive for the admission of an additional 5,000 Syrian refugees under the Humanitarian Admission Programme (HAP), which outlines the criteria that will be considered in the admission of this second quota.
While the first group of 5,000 could be composed of Syrians in Syria (family reunification cases), Jordan or Lebanon, this new directive can include Syrians in Syria (family reunification cases) or any of its neighbouring countries, as well as Egypt. They can be proposed to BAMF by UNHCR, Bundesländer, or in special cases, by the German Federal Foreign Office or by the Ministry of the Interior. In some cases, they will also consider stateless persons who have documents proving their identity and who live or have lived in Syria for at least 3 years.
It further stipulates that persons who have family relations (not restricted to a particular degree of relationship) in Germany will be prioritised, while those whose families have made a declaration of commitment or of willingness to contribute to their living costs will be preferred. It is hoped that the travel arrangements and costs to Germany will be covered by the majority of individuals admitted, especially those who have family relations in Germany.
Other criteria that may be considered include: language skills, previous stays in Germany, other relations to Germany, humanitarian criteria (children at risk, medical cases, women at risk, religious minorities) and the potential to contribute to the reconstruction of Syria after the conflict. It is not necessary, however, for persons to fulfil multiple criteria.
As mentioned, this commitment to take an additional 5,000 Syrians, announced on 6 December 2013, is in addition to the 5,000 places for Syrian refugees already offered by the German government, and the individual quotas for Syrian refugee arrivals offered by some German Bundesländer. Germany's total contribution of 10,000 HAP places for Syrian refugees is a significant contribution to the 30,000 places that UNHCR has targeted for more industrialised countries outside of the region to offer by the end of 2014. The UNHCR Representative for Germany, Hans ten Feld, welcomed the announcement, and expressed the hope that it would encourage other EU Member States to offer more places for Syrian refugees.
Click here to read the directive from the Ministry of the Interior (in German), the letter from the Ministry of the Interior of 20 December 2013 (in German) and the form for proposals by a Bundesland.
Click here to read the UNHCR press release (in German) and an article in Deutsche Welle (in English) about the Conference announcement. For more information on the current situation in Syria, visit our 'Focus on Syria' pages.
Picture: © IOM/Remi Itani/ 2013.