According to figures released as a response to a parliamentary inquiry submitted by Germany’s far-right party Alternative for Germany (AfD), German daily Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung reported on Friday that the amount in welfare that foreigners receive in Germany has almost doubled from 2007 to 2019.
In 2007, some €6.6 billion ($7.3 billion) were disbursed to non-Germans.
That figure rose to €12.62 by 2019, but it was slightly lower than the €12.9 billion registered in 2018.
As DW.com reports, Germany’s social welfare program for the long-term unemployed, known as Hartz IV, was introduced in 2005 and dispenses aid to recipients while requiring them to regularly engage with a job-center advisor and show they’re actively looking for work or enrolled in approved work-preparatory skills-training programs.
It is available to all Germans who qualify as well as other EU citizens in Germany and asylum-seekers permitted to work but unable to find employment.
The rise in welfare payments coincides with a sharp increase in asylum-seekers coming to Germany in recent years.
Roughly €6.1 billion of welfare money given to foreigners went to people originated from the top eight asylum countries.
Just under €3.6 billion went to refugees from Syria, followed by Iraqis (€840 million) and Afghans (€810 million).
In response to the figures, AfD parliament member Rene Springer condemned the fact that more money was being spent on foreigners.
“The dramatic increase in Hartz IV expenditures for foreigners shows that the government has completely underestimated the cost and financial burden that immigration places on social programs,” Springer said.
By contrast, DW reports that German households saw a decline in welfare payments from 2007 to 2019.