BERLIN, Nov. 7 (Xinhua) -- Berlin plans to tighten its entry rules for immigrants following consultations with the minister-presidents of the German federal states.
To deter asylum seekers without a prospect of staying, Germany will double the time asylum seekers have to wait until they receive full social benefits to 36 months. Additionally, special payment cards will replace cash to restrict the use of funds for specific purchases.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz called the agreement with the federal states a "very historic moment." All levels of government had succeeded in working closely together, he said on Tuesday.
To ease the financial burden, Germany is restructuring its financial framework to fund refugees. Instead of a fixed lump sum, the government will pay a single fixed amount per asylum applicant from next year.
In combination with savings from the reduction in the number of applicants and the reduction in benefits, this is expected to lead to a total financial relief of 3.5 billion euros (3.7 billion U.S. dollars) in 2024, according to the government.
In the fight against increasing illegal migration, Germany introduced intensified identity checks at its borders with Poland, the Czech Republic and Switzerland last month.
On the other hand, Germany is facing a massive shortage of skilled workers, making the country's aging population dependent on immigration. According to the Institute for Employment Research, the shortage could reach 7 million workers by 2035 unless sufficient countermeasures were taken. (1 euro = 1.07 U.S. dollar) ■