For the integration of foreigners living legally and permanently in Bavaria and asylum seekers with good prospects of remaining in the state, society, working life and culture, reliable framework conditions are just as necessary as the individual's own willingness to accept existing integration offers and to want and support integration themselves. Integration is not a one-way street, but a mutual give and take. Genuine integration is only possible, however, if the number of people to be integrated is limited and the acceptance of the population is maintained through socially acceptable control of the influx of foreigners.
The integration of foreigners living here legally and permanently, as well as asylum seekers with good prospects of staying (see various residence titles under "Related Topics"), is a declared goal of the Bavarian state government.
No integration without language! Only those who speak German can find their way in daily life, acquire a school-leaving certificate and actively participate in the labor market. Language is the first step into the center of our lives. The integration course teaches such important language skills.
The general integration course includes a language course and an orientation course. The language course with 600 hours aims to impart sufficient knowledge of the German language. The orientation course of 100 hours serves to provide orientation in the legal system, the culture and the history of Germany and focuses on teaching values, especially the equality of women and men. In order to make the courses more flexible for the respective target group, special integration courses can be set up if necessary (e.g. in the case of increased care requirements), which then comprise up to 900 teaching hours in the language course and 100 hours in the orientation course.
Those entitled to participate in the integration course must pay a contribution to the costs to the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees. Those who receive benefits according to SGB II (Basic Security for Job Seekers) or assistance for subsistence according to SGB XII can be exempted from this upon application.
According to Section 44 of the Residence Act (Aufenthaltsgesetz, AufenthG), adult foreigners who reside permanently in Germany and do not already have sufficient knowledge of the German language are generally entitled to participate in an integration course if they have received a residence permit for the first time for the purpose of earning a living, for the purpose of family reunification, for certain humanitarian reasons or as a long-term resident (EU). Corresponding confirmations of eligibility for participation are issued by the foreigners authorities.
Other foreigners and their family members may be admitted by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees to participate in a course within the limits of available course places (cf. Section 44 (4) Residence Act). This also applies to foreigners who are in possession of a residence permit and who are expected to reside lawfully and permanently (i.e. not asylum seekers from safe countries of origin, see § 44 Para. 4 Sentence 3 AufenthG!) as well as to foreigners who are in possession of a discretionary toleration according to § 60a Para. 2 Sentence 3 AufenthG or a residence permit according to § 25 Para. 5 AufenthG. German nationals who are in need of integration (because they grew up abroad, for example) can also be admitted to the integration course.
The Foreign Nationals Employment Promotion Act will expand access for asylum seekers and tolerated persons to federally funded language promotion measures from August 1, 2019. Specifically, asylum seekers who are not from safe countries of origin will be able to access integration courses after three months of permitted residence if they entered before August 1, 2019, and if they are close to the labor market. Participation is also possible if the criterion of proximity to the labor market is not met for reasons of child-rearing.
In addition to the aspect of PROMOTING integration, the aspect of REQUIREMENT is also anchored in the Residence Act. § Section 44a of the Residence Act regulates the conditions under which foreigners can be required to attend an integration course, including a lack of basic German language skills. If such an obligation is not fulfilled, sanctions are provided for, such as the imposition of a fine. Pursuant to Section 8 (3) Sentence 6 of the Residence Act, the extension of the residence permit is generally to be limited to a maximum of one year in each case until the integration course has been successfully completed (corresponds to B1 level CEFR). Whether the foreigner violates his or her obligation to properly attend the integration course must also be taken into account when deciding on the extension of the residence permit (cf. Section 8 (3) Residence Act). According to the legislator's intention, there is a connection between residence status and integration progress.
In addition to improved opportunities for participation in social life, successful completion of the integration course can also facilitate naturalization for the foreigners concerned. The Nationality Act (StAG) stipulates that in such cases an entitlement to naturalization in terms of the duration of residence already exists after seven instead of eight years of lawful habitual residence in Germany (Section 10 (3) Sentence 1 StAG), provided that the other prerequisites for naturalization are also met.