How does it operate?
Since 2010, migrants in Bremen have been able to apply for a residence permit “on humanitarian grounds” if they are “socially and economically integrated”. They can qualify for this if they can provide proof of four years of schooling in Germany, language skills and a clean criminal record. This has been unattainable for young migrants in similar circumstances in other federal states, and Bremen’s approach thus constitutes a major step forward. It was also the first model for a right of residence for those trapped in the endless loop of temporary residence permits without a one-time cut-off date.
What is the outcome?
In October 2020, Bremen went a step further, allowing those with a “tolerated stay permit” (“Duldung”) who have made “considerable progress towards integration” to be granted a residence permit. Young adults up to the age of 26 can now also be granted a residence permit after four years of residence – if they can show that they have:
sufficient knowledge of German (level B1) or adequate knowledge of German (level A2) and a “satisfactory” grade in German on a school report from a German school,
successfully attended a German school for four years,
acquired a secondary school qualification, or
a place on a vocational training programme, a university degree programme, or a state-subsidised pre-vocational training scheme.
Bremen has once again taken the lead with its new state decree. “It applies to unaccompanied minors and guarantees them a right to remain if they finish school”, says Markus Saxinger of the Bremen Integration Network. “This practice does not exist anywhere else.”