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Mon, Dec

Germany offers failed asylum seekers €3,000 to voluntarily return to their home countries

migrants pictured in Austria waiting to cross the border to Germany

Germany is offering rejected asylum-seekers who voluntarily move back to their home countries a one-time payment of up to 3,000 euros (£2,647).The offer is part of a government project called StartHilfePlus (StartHelpPlus), which launched in February to ease the repatriation process for failed asylum seekers.

Those who voluntarily return are already offered between 800 and 1,200 euros per person, but in order to boost numbers, the government now offer a housing support grant of 3,000 euros per family.

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The Interior Ministry says those who qualify for the additional grant can apply by a February 28 deadline and they would get the money once they return home.

As of February this year, migrants who agree to go back even before their asylum request is rejected have already been offered 1,200 euros per adult and 600 euros per child, with those who have already been rejected are given 800 euros.

If a family of more than four people return voluntarily, they can receive an additional 500 euros.

Half of the grant is payed upon leaving Germany, and the other half is paid six to eight months after their have arrived in their home country.

The scheme only applies to those from what the International Organization for Migration (IOM) deem to be 'safe countries of origin', such as Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Iraq, Iran, Libya and Somalia.

Between 1 December 2017 and 28 February 2018 returnees can apply for an additional reintegration assistance under the name 'Your Country. Your Future. Now!'.

This grant, of up to 3,000 euros for a family and 1,000 euros for a single person, is meant to pay for rent, construction or renovations to ensure that a home in their country of origin provides basic facilities.

The repatriation programmes are designed to speed up the lengthy deportation process of failed asylum seekers in the wake of the 2015 crisis which saw Germany open its borders to one million refugees and migrants.

But the Bild am Sonntag newspaper reported Sunday that just 8,639 migrants participated in the returnee program between February and October, even though there are about 115,000 rejected asylum-seekers in Germany - many of whom can't be deported for humanitarian reasons.