Germany: Family reunification programme starts again for refugees

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By Louise Miner  with Reuters
Germany: Family reunification programme starts again for refugees

Germany has resumed its family reunification programme for some of the refugees living there.

It's after the government in 2016, suspended the right for asylum seekers to bring immediate family members.

But the new rules mean only a 1,000 people per month will be chosen.

This is to ease the workload on the social workers handling a record number of migrants.

Odai has to make do with face time or skype to see his family.

Oudai Alhomsi, Syrian refugee says, "With the conditions that 1000 people can come over every month it's a problem. Even if I get the family reunion chance, who are the ones who will come first? when will they come?"

There are more than 30,000 family reunification applications so it could take years to process.

Officials will have to look at the length of separation, the age of loved ones outside Germany, health considerations and safety when they choose.

Odai's wife, son and daughter are at a refugee camp in Jordan and says his expectations are low, of seeing them anytime soon. "We don't really have high hopes that family reunion has been restored, although embassy consulates and embassies have started to collect applications. But the decisions on this law have changed twice, so this third time I will of course not believe it until I see them here with residencies."

Some lucky families were ecstatic when they were reunited before the ban.

But only 5,000 will be able to enter between now and the end of the year.