German language skills are a hurdle for refugees

Refugees now have to demonstrate German language skills in order to receive social assistance. Failure to do so can cost them a lot of money.

Christine Tragler
Christine Tragler Der Standard, Austria
Source: Der Standard
German language skills are a hurdle for refugees  - NewsMavens

Why this story matters:

Recently, the Austrian government has introduced a German language requirement for social benefits --- an especially challenging requirement to meet for refugees. In order to be granted basic welfare, they will have to acquire basic knowledge of German in a short time.

In order to learn the basics of a foreign language, refugees will also need to meet several implicit requirements.

They will need to be able to read and write. They will need to have some schooling. And they will need to have access to German-language environments to practice.

The government also plans to implement even more stringent English-language requirements in order to favor highly-qualified applicants.

Those who do not fulfill this long list of prerequisites will be receiving 300 euros less than the basic welfare amount of 863 euros per month.

Details from the story:

  • Refugees who cannot demonstrate any German language skills will have to make do with a reduced social benefit of 563 euros per month.
  • A basic German course takes on average 1.5 years. For the duration of this course, it means refugees will have to live with 5,400 euros.
  • If a refugee has little to no schooling experience, it could take over two years to learn German, according to experts.
  • The government also plans on excluding people who are under subsidiary protection -- those who were not granted asylum but who are protected against deportation -- from welfare payments.
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