How many illegal foreigners receive government support

Migration: Who gets Hartz IV - and who doesn't

According to media reports, citing figures from the Federal Employment Agency, there were 5.93 million Hartz IV recipients in Germany at the end of December. Of these, 2.03 million (34.3 percent) were foreigners. Almost half of them (959,000) come from non-European refugee countries. The largest group are Syrians with 588,301 people. This means that every tenth Hartz IV recipient comes from Syria.

In total, citizens from 193 countries and territories receive basic social security benefits. Of these, 438,850 come from other EU countries - above all from Bulgaria (84,334), Poland (80,517) and Romania (65,902). The second largest group of foreign Hartz recipients after the Syrians comes from Turkey: 259,447. This is followed by Iraqis (138,000) and Afghans (99,000).

Among the Hartz recipients are also many citizens of exotic countries such as the South Seas paradises Tonga (31) and Fiji (10) or the holiday destinations Maldives (6), St. Lucia (10), Trinidad / Tobago (44) or Mongolia (428). 12,255 Hartz recipients are stateless, the origin of 27,144 is not clear.

Requirements must be met

Not everyone can apply for state benefits; foreign citizens must meet certain requirements.

Potential beneficiaries must prove with their application for basic financial security that they are legally resident in Germany. For this purpose, the job center requires a so-called residence permit from non-EU citizens, colloquially: a residence permit.

Foreign citizens who come to Germany for reasons of flight initially receive their maintenance in accordance with the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act. If they are allowed to stay after the examination, they can, if they are in need of help, submit an application for maintenance benefits to the job center of the employment agency, in which they must prove that they are in need of help.

Foreigners are generally also required to provide evidence that they are not only staying in Germany for a short time, such as tourists - in the technical jargon of the Federal Employment Agency one speaks of a "habitual residence".

If someone is a citizen of another EU country, this must be proven by submitting a rental contract, a registration certificate and an identification document.

Anyone who is only staying in Germany for the purpose of looking for work cannot apply for support. In other words: not everyone who comes is automatically entitled to social benefits.

Free movement of workers for EU citizens

In 2004 Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Cyprus and Malta joined the European Union (EU), followed in 2007 by Bulgaria and Romania.

In principle, citizens of the European Union are allowed to pursue an activity in any member state. For a transitional period of seven years, however, access to the German labor market was restricted for nationals of the new accession countries, with the exception of Malta and Cyprus. However, since May 1, 2011 and January 1, 2014, nationals of all accession countries have had unrestricted free movement of workers.

In need of help despite own income

In need of help within the meaning of the Hartz IV laws are also people who cannot adequately support themselves from their income or assets and the necessary help cannot be provided by relatives.

Many immigrants find it difficult to find employment that is subject to social security contributions in Germany. Of the more than 32 million people with such a job in 2017, almost 3.5 million were foreigners, but only 1.5 million of them were from non-EU countries.

Employees from Syria or Bulgaria, for example, are also entitled to supplementary benefits at the job center if they are unable to pay for their rent or for a living with a marginally paid job. Colloquially, one speaks of "topping up".

Share of benefit recipients with a migration background is growing

According to the employment agency, in September 2017 the proportion of those entitled to standard benefits with a migration background was more than 52 percent. At the end of 2013, the proportion of these people was only 43 percent. According to the official definition, a person has a migration background if they or at least one of their parents was not born with German citizenship.