Asylbewerber & Migranten
If you need help in administrative or have communication problems, please contact the office of the Asylsozialberater (Mr. Oschwald, Mrs. Ohde) Flurstr. 29 (2nd
story), 86405 Meitingen Mobile +49 162 2622168
Mr. Oschwald speaks both German and English, Mrs Odeh German and Arabic. The times cannot be guaranteed because of previous and external appointments, therefore the hours available are subject to change.
Welcome to Germany!
If you are not familiar with the details of migration and seeking of asylum procedures, you are encouraged to read the detailed informations on the pages of the
(available in English and German, some parts in more languages).
This is a brief introduction to the procedures concerning health services, which are available for asylum applicants (during the process of application) and the general situation in Germany including some rules we regard as important. It is not complete and might contain errors. When in doubt, feel free to contact the Asylsozialberater (see table above).
"Refugees" can be asylum seekers, asylum applicants and people who are entitled for asylum and people who can stay because of a transfer ban.
While people entitled for asylum usually are allowed to work and together with their employer pay for a regular health insurance, asylum applicants are not allowed to work and therefore are dependant on state welfare.
During the process of application for asylum, our country as a European host is responsible for basic health support according to International, European and German law. This health support is not full health insurance, The basic health support rules aim on emergencies, pain, acute diseases and conditions endangering life. The health administration in our district is the Landratsamt Augsburg. You are entiteled to a permit for a three-month term (Quartalsschein) for a General Practitioner of your choice (1 Jan..March, 2 April..June, 3 July..September, 4 October..December). The permit (Quartalsschein) can be collected personally, from the Landratsamt, branch Schwabmünchen, or, ask the staff of the practitioner to order the "Quartalsschein" for you (in this time allow for three working days until the form arrives by mail!). Only one Quartalsschein is allowed each three month term!. If specialist diagnostics or treatment are necessary, you receive a yellow transferal form ("Überweisungsschein") from the General Practitioner, many types of treatments need an explicit permit by the health administration.
Most of the General Practitioners work with an appointment system. All patients cannot expect to be treated without first making an appointment. (except of emergency
treatment). Even with the appointment system, waiting times are common and no personal insult. It is important to always make sure you are accompanied by an interpreter. Most doctors speak English,
but it is improbable that they understand Tigrinya, Persian dialects, Amharic, Turkish or Russian! Please be aware of the timing problems arising from language barriers - the patients with
appointment after you must wait longer, while we try to figure out translations. In some cases, your favorite interpreter can help by phone, but you have to make sure he or she is available at the
time of your appointment. The Asylsozialberater (look at the table on the top of this page) can help you.
The emergency number 112 and the hospitals are *only* for emergencies. It is not allowed to use them for "ordinary" problems !!!
At night and on holidays there is a number 116117 service for contacting the General Practitioner in-charge. Again, this is only possible on appointment and the physician urgently needs an interpreter present to help you properly!
There is a different procedure for medication compared to the Erstaufnahmelager Donauwörth where many applicants here come from. If medication is prescribed, it is usually printed on light red paper forms. Those recipes are paid for by the Landratsamt and you get the medication at a pharmacy of your choice. Sometimes you get a blue, green or white recipe. Those recipes contain medicine that is not paid for by the Landratsamt. Some of those drugs are available without prescription, some need to be prescribed but are not paid for by the Landratsamt. This cannot be changed, we have to follow rules.
We try to make possible what is possible and make the time of processing of your application fairly pleasant, but it might prove helpful to know some important facts about Germany which many refugees might not be fully aware of.
"Asylum" is a clearly defined situation in which your life, freedom or health is in severe danger when staying in your home country. "Asylum" is impossible, if you just plan to start a life with better chances and income in Europe. You might wish to read the 1951 Refugee Convention for details. Start with the Wikipedia entry which also contains a link to the original document. There is a very instructive wikipedia article (in German language) on German law concerning asylum with several links.
Especially in Africa, rumours are being spread that Europe is a golden chance for a new life. This is definitely wrong and the more people that arrive with this idea, the less of them will experience acceptance and friendly admission. Please don't encourage people in Africa to risk their lives on the Mediterranean Sea! Europe has limited capacities for integration. If you follow news streams you will find out that Germany has experienced several cases of severe problems with migrants recently, which are present in everybody's mind: e.g. there was a case of groping/ sexual harassment of many women in Cologne mostly done by North-African men and there was the terrible truck attack on a peaceful Christmas market with many casualties comitted by Anis Amri who was registered as an asylum applicant. There is also a growing discussion in Europe concerning the demand for caliphate, sharia and world Islam on the background of news about ISIS and ultra-conservative islamic states. We are aware of many refugees cheating on personal data, trying to sign in with several identities. We also know of terrorists hiding in the role of refugees. You should keep this in mind, because you might be the most peaceful and friendliest person in the world, but the above concerns and events are reason enough for many people to forget their hospitality and hold a deep grudge against refugees. Many Germans are afraid of terrorism and aggression and religious fanaticism, they are suspicious especially in situations where groups of men talk in foreign languages, at night and around railway stations, etc., women especially dislike this scenario.. Call it prejudice, but it is a reality you should be aware of. Some refugees try to reconstruct their old family structure and habits in Germany creating a kind of "parallel culture" or ghetto, though at first this might seem to be the easiest way to settle down, it is a very bad idea and will be the cause of trouble with school, administration and police, because many foreign traditions are incompatible with German law.
It is a very good idea to try your best to learn German (there are German courses available and you shold make it a top priority in joining them, this means men AND women!). Even if Germany might be a strange and sometimes difficult experience you should try hard to assimilate. Germans appreciate your struggle for our difficult language and your acceptance of German rules and values. Here are some of the more important things (the list is not complete):
Please, please remember that in Germany an appointment means that the appointment is exactly on that day and at that time. If the Asylsozialberater say they want to meet you next Tuesday, you should not got there this Friday. The same is for appointments with doctors and dentists. Every appointment! We are repeatedly astonished that appointments often seem to be an unknown thing it seems we really need to point out that in Germany, calendars and clocks are important things that need to be obeyed.
In Germany, there is a strict freedom of religion, and we follow a regime of laicism (separation of state and religion). You can have any religion or lack of religion without any problems, as long as you regard religion as your personal thing and do not try to influence others or signal your beliefs in public intensively or even blame others for not following the rules of your religion.
Women in Germany have the same legal rights as men. They are usually well educated and mostly earn their own money. They dress as they please and here this is no sign of low morality or lack of religious belief. Even if this is a new situation for you, you need to show respect to women of all ages. Failing to do so can result in very unpleasant situations for you! In Germany, women as a standard do not hide their head or face, just like in the liberal era of Turkey, Iran, Iraq. Wearing headscarves in Germany is not forbidden but you should know that women wearing traditional headscarves send a signal of ultraconservative attitude that might be unintended, especially in the process of assimilation.
In public indoor or outdoor swimming pools you will naturally find men and women together, a scenario which refugees of some countries are not familiar with. Here, women are wearing a two part bikini or a one part swimming suit, men wear swimming trunks. So called burkinis can be worn by ultraconservative women if they feel comfortable in it, but it will be regarded strange and inadequate here. A warning to the boys: though it is an area of fun and laughter showing easy living, never, touch or insult girls and women it's a strict no-go! Unfortunately, this is a problem that became a common issue with male migrants who did not know or followed the strict rules in pools. There are male and female pool-attendants responsibilty for maintenance and security of the pool. Listen to what they say, they are the boss in all cases and have domiciliary rights! Follow their rules which usually are printed in many languages on big signs near to the basin. If in doubt, ask the pool-attendants, they will help in all situations and explain rules and procedures.
Traditional female circumcision is strictly forbidden in Germany and is punished with fines and jail for every person doing or accepting it. While people who escape to
evade circumcision have a possible reason for asylum, persons supporting genital mutilation are deported and/or have to face fines. Here is an article on this issue, unfortunately, it is still an issue even here in Germany.
Children (boys and girls) are not only allowed, they are legally obliged to go to school. Parents are not allowed to keep them from joining school and gaining an education. We encourage the smaller children to join a Kindergarten, the young children have lots of fun there and this is the fastest way for them to learn German and prepare for Elementary School. Be a role model for your children: learn German and learn German WITH your children.
During your process of application, the population of Germany carries the complete cost of housing, medical insurance and maintenance. As you can see in the interactive map at Eurostat, Germany in 2016 had to cope with 745155 applications, which is much more than in any other country in Europe. Therefore it is impossible to supply applicants with a complete health insurance: people in Germany pay about 14.6% of their income for health insurance (employer and employee each 7.3%). Homing asylum applicants is expensive, too. Presently, we try hard to manage the flood of asylum applicants wishing to come to Europe (especially Germany), but the number of houses available is limited and there are also many Germans with extremely low or no income seeking cheap and socially supported rooms (in Meitingen about 100 !!). This is the reason our administration is not able to always guarantee "optimal" housing. You will have to live together with people of different nations, habits, religions which is not always easy. We are aware of this and our civil servants are doing their best but there are limitations - we can't offer what we don't have. Another problem is that people entitled for asylum have to leave the dedicated accommodation and find rooms on the free market outside of dedicated or industrial areas (where presently no regular rental apartments are allowed even if buildings are empty). Many tend to go to "attractive" towns though there are no affordable apartments and administration has had to plan the number of children in kindergarten and elementary school in advance of each term to supply the required amount of teachers and nurseries.
Germany still is known for its hospitality and we will respect your rights on asylum according to the Geneva convention. We try very hard to integrate the numerous refugees every new day. Please help us to make this experience a good thing.
Link sources: There are links to sites of the Landkreis
Augsburg to the German dw (Deutsche Welle) channel which offers translations of its articles in 30 languages, and to Wikipedia which hosts millions of articles on nearly everything. Often, wikipedia articles are only available in the language of one country if issues
of only this country are concerned. We also put a link to the Eurostat site (it is a site of the EU presenting statistics in
many languages). We are not responsible for the linked pages and they do not necessarily present our personal opinion, but they are interesting and unlikely to contain illegal