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Differential access to social protection system and benefits - Do some or more categories of migrants minorities or stateless/non-citizens face limitations and restrictions?

Key Area:
Health And Social Protection
Discrimination, Equality
25/01/2013 - 14:24
Short Answer

Yes, partly.

Qualitative Info

In general, migrants do not face limitations or restrictions in accessing the social protection system and benefits. However, asylum seekers whose procedure is still running and the so called ‘tolerated’ persons only receive a basic social protection to cover their basic needs.

In a significant court ruling regarding welfare allowances for asylum seekers and tolerated persons, the Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) found it to be unconstitutional that asylum seekers and tolerated persons receive lower allowances which are 40% lower than the standard rates. The Court decided that the current regulation is unconstitutional as it does not provide for a decent subsistence [5, 6]. Currently, transitional regulations are in place until welfare rates are recalculated. In December 2012, the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (Bundesministerium für Arbeit und Soziales, BMAS) submitted the third draft bill to amend the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act (Asylbewerberleistungsgesetz, AsylbLG) [7].

Concerning the regulations on access to health care for undocumented migrants, the German federal upper house (Bundesrat) passed a new regulation in 2009 which lifts the obligation of medical personnel and administration as well as of social welfare offices to inform the Social Security Office about undocumented migrants in case of emergency care. Thus, no personal data is forwarded to the Foreigner’s Office. If the undocumented migrant is not seeking emergency help but other medical services, the obligation to denounce is still in place. Although this new regulation is in force, practical obstacles remain. The hospital fears to bear the costs as it is not guaranteed that the cost for the emergency care is reimbursed and therefore might refuse to treat an undocumented migrant [3, p.19; 4, p.3).


  1. ECRI (2009), ECRI Report on Germany – fourth monitoring cycle,, Accessed on 01.03.2012.
  2. ENAR (2012). ENAR Shadow Report 2010-2011: Racism and related discriminatory practices in Germany,, Accessed on 28.03.2012.
  3. PICUM (2010a), PICUM’s Main Concerns about the Fundamental Right of Undocumented Migrants in Europe,, Accessed on 29.03.2012.
  4. PICUM (2010b), Undocumented Migrants’ Health Needs and Strategies to Access Health Care in 17 EU countries: Country Report Germany,, Accessed on 29.03.2012.
  5. Mahler, C. (2012) ‘Das Asylbewerberleistungsgesetz verletzt die Menschenrechte’, aktuell 3/2012, Deutsches Institut für Menschenrechte (ed.), available at:, Accessed on 29.03.2012.
  6. Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht )(2012), Karlsruhe/1 BvL 2/11, available at, Accessed on 25.01.2013.
  7. Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (Bundesministeriums für Arbeit und Soziales) (2012) ‘Entwurf eines Dritten Gesetzes zur Änderung des Asylbewerberleistungsgesetzes’, draft bill, 4 December 2012, available at:, Accessed on 04.12.2012.
Groups affected/interested
Type (R/D)
Key socio-economic / Institutional Areas Health and social protection
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