A German bid to get illegal immigrants to go home by paying them over 1,000 GBP plus other benefits has backfired after migrants living in the country legally claimed it was offensive.
The scheme to pay the illegal immigrants to go back home was unveiled some time ago but was given new impetus recently with a selection of posters on the streets and metro stations that read: „Your country. Your Future. Now!“
It is aimed at illegal immigrants and tells them that if they decide to leave the country willingly before 31st December this year, they can receive twelve months in housing benefits in addition to a cash payment of 1,200 EUR (1,070 GBP) already offered.
The basic information has been included in foreign languages as well including English, Russian, Arabic, French, Farsi and Pashtu.
Germany has been offering financial support in the form of the cash payment for some time but the „Returning from Germany“ campaign has now been stepped up with with the additional help with housing costs in the returnees‘ homeland if they go by the end of the year.
The posters have not been warmly received and have been doused in paint or had the words „Refugees welcome!!“ written on them.
Upset netizens posted pictures of the posters on social media, criticising them.
Netizen ‚Hillerovsky‘ wrote: „With this, all those who stay are considered second-class citizens. Disgraceful.“
Spokesman of the European Parliament representatives from the Alliance 90/The Greens, Sven Giegold, wrote: „Human destinies are handled like cars, checking accounts or mobile phone contracts. Returning is no commodity!“
Interior Ministry spokesman Steve Alter is aware of the complications surrounding the poster s message.
According to him, the problem was brought on by the compact form in which the message is shown and stressed: „It is not aimed at people who legally live in Germany.“
Migrants living in Germany were upset by the posters and one of them told Antenna3 TV: „I’m angry about it because I also have a migrant background.“
Another said: „I was very disappointed to see something like that at the metro station.“
Public service broadcaster ARD also interviewed people at the train station is whether posters appeared with one saying: „It s embarrassing. It s like a lottery. Go back home and how you get ?1000 Christmas money and then goodbye.“
Commentators included Alicia Braun who wrote: „I come from Argentina and Germany is my country. I ve worked here for 30 years, I pay EUR 2000 in taxes every month and EUR 800 in health insurance. Do you?“