‘Refugees will strengthen Germany’: Bundesbank

Jens Weidmann, the president of the Bundesbank (German central bank), said on Wednesday that Germany will face the future stronger if it successfully integrates refugees and other immigrants.

'Refugees will strengthen Germany': Bundesbank
Jens Weidmann, President of the Bundesbank. Photo: DPA

Talking to the Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ), Weidmann said that while Germany was currently in a strong economic position it faced a formidable task to remain competitive in the future.

“In the long term Germany faces considerable challenges – if you think about its ageing society, increasing competition from developing countries, and the Energiewende [the transition to renewable energy]” Weidmann told the SZ.

Due to the the country's population becoming ever older, Germany needs to replace its workforce if it is to maintain its current standard of living, he added.

Despite refugees posing a challenge to the country “this influx also provides opportunities which will be all the bigger the better we are at integrating these people into society and the job market in a long-term way.”

Weidmann's opinion was backed up by the United Nations Special Representative for International Migration, Peter Sutherland, on Wednesday who tweeted “The populations of many EU states need a crash course in demographics. Their people are aging and economies threatened.”

Weidmann was also critical of the European Central Bank's (ECB) recent announcement that it will consider extending quantitative easing measures beyond September 2016.

“All this cheap money can't create sustainable growth and builds up ever greater risks for financial stability the longer it goes on,” he said.

The ECB has been buying government bonds since March to the tune of €60 billion per month.

Two weeks ago ECB president Mario Draghi said he would considered extending the measure beyond September 2016 if his growth goals for the euro zone still had not been met.

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Reader question: How do you meet the requirements for a sambo visa?

In Sweden, a sambo is domestic partner – someone you’re in a relationship with and live with, but to whom you aren’t married. If you, as a non-EU citizen, are in a sambo relationship with a Swedish citizen, you can apply for a residence permit on the basis of that relationship. But meeting the requirements of that permit is not always straightforward.

Reader question: How do you meet the requirements for a sambo visa?

An American reader, whose son lives with his Swedish partner, wrote to The Local with questions about the maintenance requirement her son and his partner must meet in order to qualify for a sambo resident permit.

“Their specific issue is that they meet the requirements for a stable relationship and stable housing, but have been told that qualifying for a sambo visa based on savings is unlikely,” she wrote, asking for suggestions on how to approach this issue. Her son’s partner is a student with no income, but whose savings meet maintenance requirements. But, they have been told by lawyers that Migrationsverket will likely deny the application based on the absence of the Swedish partner’s income.

How do relationships qualify for sambo status?

In order to apply for a residence permit on the basis of a sambo relationship, you and your partner must either be living together, or plan to live together as soon as the non-Swedish partner can come to Sweden. Because this reader’s son is already in Sweden as a graduate student, he can apply for a sambo permit without having to leave the country, provided that his student permit is still valid at the time the new application is submitted.

The Migration Agency notes that “you can not receive a residence permit for the reason that you want to live with a family member in Sweden before your current permit expires”. So once your valid permit is close to expiration, you can apply for a new sambo permit.

What are the maintenance requirements for a sambo permit?

The maintenance requirements for someone applying for a sambo permit fall on the Swedish partner, who must prove that they are able to support both themselves and their partner for the duration of the permit. This includes both housing and financial requirements.

In terms of residential standards that applicants must meet, they must show that they live in a home of adequate size – for two adult applicants without children, that means at least one room with a kitchen. If rented, the lease must be for at least one year.

The financial requirements are more complicated. The Swedish partner must be able to document a stable income that can support the applicant and themselves – for a sambo couple, the 2022 standard is an income of 8,520 kronor per month. This burden falls on the Swedish partner.

While the Migration Agency’s website does say that you may “fulfil the maintenance requirement (be considered able to support yourself) if you have enough money/taxable assets to support yourself, other persons in your household and the family members who are applying for a residence permit for at least two years”, it is unclear how proof of this would be documented. On a separate page detailing the various documents that can be used to prove that maintenance requirements are met, there is nothing about how to document savings that will be used to support the couple.

Can you apply on the basis of savings instead of income?

Well, this is unclear. The Migration Agency’s website does suggest that having enough money saved up to support both members of the sambo relationship is an option, but it gives no details on how to document this. It is also unclear whether applying on the basis of savings will disadvantage applicants, with preference given to applicants who can show proof of income from work.

The Local has reached out to an immigration lawyer to answer this question.