Asylum seekers are now entitled to apply for financial benefits if they leave Germany voluntarily, Bild am Sonntag reported.
Families can receive one-off benefits of up to 3,000 euros, which they can spend for construction and renovation works in their home countries. For individuals, the maximum amount is 1,000 euros per person.
In his statement to the newspaper, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière (CDU) called on asylum seekers to take advantage of the program.
"If you decide for a voluntary return by the end of February, you can receive a housing aid for the first twelve months in your country of origin in addition to the Start-Help," the politician said.
The program is called "Your Country. Your Future. Now!" and runs until February 28, 2018. It complements the "Start-Help Plus" program, launched in February 2017, according to which asylum seekers receive 1,200 euros if they decide to voluntary return home before their application is processed or 800 euros if their applications have already been rejected.
Abgelehnte Asylbewerber/innen müssen in der Regel in ihr Herkunftsland zurückkehren. Wir werben für freiwillige #Rückkehr statt #Abschiebung: Bis zum 28. Februar gibt es jetzt einen #Wohnkosten-Zuschuss. Infos: https://t.co/gzL6OiNsXw. #DeinLandDeineZukunftJetzt pic.twitter.com/hI3U6Fax2V— BMI (@BMI_Bund) 2 декабря 2017 г.
Rejected asylum seekers generally have to return to their countries of origin. We call for a voluntary return instead of a deportation. There is now a housing aid subsidy until February, 28.
Germany has been struggling to manage a massive refugee crisis, which escalated in 2015 with hundreds of thousands of people from the Middle East and North Africa seeking asylum in EU member states.
Reports say that the number of asylum applications has fallen drastically in 2017 compared to the previous year.
According to the Ministry of Interior, around 187,000 people applied for asylum in Germany in the first 10 months of 2017. In the same period last year, there were about 694,000 such applications.