Reliable framework conditions are just as necessary 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 as their 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. However, genuine integration is only possible if the number of people to be integrated is limited and the acceptance of the population is ensured by managing the influx of foreigners in a socially responsible manner.
The integration of foreigners living here legally and permanently as well as asylum seekers with good prospects of staying (see various residence permits 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 everyday life, obtain 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 600-hour language course aims to provide sufficient knowledge of the German language. The orientation course of 100 hours serves to provide orientation in the legal system, culture and history of Germany and focuses on teaching values, in particular 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. if more support is required), which then comprise up to 900 lessons in the language course and 100 lessons 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. Anyone who receives benefits in accordance with SGB II (basic income support for jobseekers) or assistance with living expenses in accordance with SGB XII can be exempted from this upon application.
According to Section 44 of the Residence Act (AufenthG), adult foreigners who are permanently resident 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 gainful employment, for the purpose of family reunification, for certain humanitarian reasons or as a long-term resident (EU). Corresponding confirmations of eligibility to participate are issued by the immigration authorities.
Other foreign nationals and their family members may be admitted by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees to participate in a course if there are places available (see Section 44 (4) Residence Act). This also applies to foreign nationals who are in possession of a temporary residence permit and to foreign nationals who are in possession of a discretionary toleration permit in accordance with § 60a Para. 2 Sentence 3 AufenthG or a residence permit in accordance with § 24 or § 25 Para. 5 AufenthG. German nationals who are in need of integration (e.g. because they grew up abroad) can also be admitted to the integration course.
In addition to the aspect of PROMOTING integration, the aspect of DEMANDING integration 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. According to Section 8 (3) sentence 6 AufenthG, the extension of the residence permit should generally be limited to a maximum of one year until the integration course has been successfully completed (corresponds to B1 level CEFR). Whether the foreigner violates their obligation to properly attend the integration course must also be taken into account when deciding on the extension of the residence permit (see Section 8 (3) AufenthG). According to the intention of the legislator, there is a connection between residence status and integration progress.
In addition to improved opportunities to participate in social life, successful completion of the integration course can also make naturalization easier for the foreigners concerned. The German Citizenship Act (StAG) stipulates that in these cases, a claim to naturalization exists after seven years of legal residence in Germany instead of eight (Section 10 (3) sentence 1 StAG), provided that the other requirements for naturalization are also met.