BERLIN, April 21 (Xinhua) -- The German Federal Government has significantly cut the one-euro job program for asylum seekers, said a report by the Sueddeutsche Zeitung.
The program, launched in August 2016 by Minister of Labor Andrea Nahles, intended to provide 100,000 one-euro or mini-jobs for those asylum seekers who have to wait for a prolonged time for a decision on their asylum status.
In March 2017, the total number of applications did not exceed 25,000. It is unknown how many of those jobs applied for have been filled.
The reason for the low number of applications is the fast asylum process in Germany -- less people are in need of the one-euro jobs because of the short period between applying for asylum and a decision being taken on whether they have permission to remain. Most of the asylum seekers with official status quickly receive basic security benefits.
Now a letter from the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social affairs has informed the German state ministries of a budget cut of 220 million euros for the year 2018 -- from 300 million to 60 million euros per year. The funds are provided by the support program for the "Measures of Integration for Refugees."
In the letter, Secretary of State Thorben Albrecht wrote that the remaining funds will be used to "bolster the budget for administrative expenses" of the Job Centers.
This measure faces criticism among German politicians since the money is now used to pay for personnel and maintenance costs of the "underfinanced" Job Centers and not for "its intended cause: the refugees," said Brigitte Pothmer, of the German green political party, The Greens. She declared the program a failure, demanding its cessation.
The Ministry of Labor defends the measure, claiming a successful start has been made that is in need of a longer startup period. Asylum seekers will profit from the additional funding for the Job Centers through "more personal and intensive support," Albrecht said.