German Chancellor Merkel approves deal requiring refugees to learn language, participate in job training

Published April 15th, 2016 - 11:00 GMT
German Chancellor Angela Merkel. (AFP/File)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel. (AFP/File)

Refugees arriving in Germany must learn the language under new restrictions imposed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling coalition Thursday.

The deal was worked out in six hours of late-night talks between Merkel's conservative Christian Union block and Social Democrats.

"Now that hundreds of thousands of refugees have arrived in our country, we have a double task: to manage and control refugee flows, and not only to register but to integrate the larger numbers," Merkel said at a news conference in Berlin.

About a million people fleeing war, persecution and economic hardship in the Middle East, Africa and South America entered Germany last year, according to the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees.

The new law would both "require things (of new arrivals) and support them," Merkel said. "We will differentiate between those with good and bad prospects for being allow to stay, but there will be an offer for everyone who comes to us."

Under the deal, new arrivals would receive subsidized courses to integrate them into German life, including language courses and job training.

Also, the nation plans to remove barriers in the labor market and create 100,000 low-paid jobs for asylum seekers.

Refugees who fail to take up the offer could lose benefits and residence permits.

Those taking part in job training would be shielded from expulsion for the length of the program.

Hurt Seehofer, leader of the Christian Social Union, said there is "still an enormous amount to do."

The federal government has to agree with the states how to require refugees to stay in one place while going through the process.

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