03:04 GMT04 June 2020
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    German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere has reportedly announced plans to give Syrian refugees a special status which would forbid them from bringing their relatives to Germany for two years.

    Syrian refugees arriving in Germany may get a special restricted status that would not allow them to bring relatives to Germany for two years, the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung quoted German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere as saying on Friday. Later in the day, he went back on his words.

    "There is no change in the approval practice for Syrian refugees," de Maiziere said.

    He added, however, that the new status for Syrian refugees had been planned at the beginning of this week.

    On Thursday, Chancellor Angela Merkel and her governing coalition's partners agreed that those refugees who have "subsidiary protection" should not be able to bring relatives to Germany for two years. There was no specific mention of Syrians in this statement, though.

    "Subsidiary protection" is something that falls short of full asylum status, but is granted to people who face serious risks in their homeland.

    People with full asylum status get a three-year residence permit, while those with "subsidiary protection" get a one-year permit that should be repeatedly extended.

    De Maiziere also said that the Thursday move clearly indicates that "there is need for discussion in the coalition, and so things will now stay as they are until there is a new decision."

    His comments came as the German government faces ever-increasing pressure to contain the influx of refugees into the country.

    The Frontex agency said in turn that about 710,000 migrants have entered the EU in the past nine months.

    According to the European Commission, the current migration crisis in the world is the biggest since the Second World War.


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