Bavaria to Unveil Asylum Payment Card in March

Wed 21st Feb, 2024

Image by Rostichep from PixabayBavaria's new asylum payment card is set to be unveiled in March, despite the ongoing disagreements within the federal government. The initiative, which is part of a model project, will kick off in four municipalities in Bavaria, namely Fürstenfeldbruck, Traunstein, Günzburg, and the independent city of Straubing. Interior State Secretary Sandro Kirchner (CSU) announced the completion of the tender process for the payment card on Tuesday in Munich, stating, "Today we awarded the contract for the payment card for asylum seekers. We are right on schedule."

The card, aimed at testing its functionality and effectiveness, will differ significantly from the controversial Hamburg version. Kirchner emphasized that the Bavarian payment card is distinct and clarified, "The Hamburg payment card that made headlines last week is not the card we want." Notably, this card permits asylum seekers residing in shared accommodations to withdraw cash at a 100% rate.

The awarding of the contract followed a Europe-wide tender conducted by the Ministry of the Interior, with the Paycenter company from Freising reportedly emerging as the successful bidder. To expedite the testing phase, the Ministry collaborated closely with the selected municipalities and municipal umbrella associations during the award process. While the exact launch date is yet to be finalized, the state government assures that preparations are proceeding as planned.

The recent controversy surrounding the payment card has sparked a renewed dispute within the traffic light coalition. The SPD and FDP argue for accompanying federal regulations, while the Greens express a contrary opinion. State Chancellor Florian Herrmann (CSU) criticized the federal debates, asserting that the existing legal framework is sufficient from a Bavarian perspective. Kirchner also pointed out the inability of the traffic light government to amend the Asylum Seekers' Benefits Act, hindering the nationwide implementation of a restrictive payment card due to opposition from the Greens.

In January, 14 out of 16 federal states reached a consensus on a joint procurement process to introduce a payment card for asylum seekers by summer. The primary aim is to prevent migrants from transferring funds to smugglers or overseas family and friends.

Image by Rostichep from Pixabay


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