For the first time Germany is making moves to tackle benefit abuse as migration from Bulgaria and Romania is set to double this year.
Economic growth and low unemployment in the country is luring citizens wishing to take advantage of the free movement of labour, but EU expansion has also fulled fears of an influx of people fleeing poverty.
German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière has been taking part in a panel set up by the German government on seeking ways to avoid so-called ‘benefit tourism.’
“The number of migrants from Bulgaria and Romania and the social problems linked to some of them can be managed nationally, but in certain regions it is alarming and the rise in numbers is alarming so it is right that we must take some measures so that they do not become a big problem for Germany as a whole.”
A government report suggests tightening rules such as limiting migrants’ stay to three months if they fail to find work.
It also plans to clamp down on firms employing unregistered immigrants or fraudsters who register them as self-employed workers to claim supplementary benefits.
Sixteen German city mayors have asked for help coping with poor immigrants from eastern Europe, while figures show that most Romanian and Bulgarians come to study or work and are unlikely to be unemployed.