Orientation, advice, accomodation
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Orientation, advice, accommodation

Mobility: When moving to a new city, orientation has priority. Some authorities are not reachable by foot that easily. Therefore it is important to know your way around in the city. Click here (information sheet 'Mobility') to get information on public transport and other mobility devices.

Language support: Many public authorities require certified translations of foreign documents. Find out here (information sheet 'Language interpretation and translation') about certified translation services in Magdeburg and other kinds of language support.

Frequently asked questions:

Where can I find out more about my right to live in Germany?

The legal basis upon which foreigners can remain in Germany is very complicated; a detailed examination will have to be made of their reasons for being here. This is the responsibility of the Ausländer­behörde (Foreigners' Authority). Its website provides general informa­tion about entering the country, remaining here, and the expiry of residence permits, as well as advice on what to bring with you when making an application, and what costs you will have to pay. You can also make appointments online.

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Where can I seek advice in Magdeburg?

Carers and social workers employed by the City of Magdeburg are responsible for providing social care in shared accommodation and communal rented apartments. If you live in private accommodation, you can contact the Migrations­beratung (advisory service for immigrants). Some advice services cater for adult migrants, whereas the Jugendmigrationsdienst is a specialist service for recently-arrived adolescents and young adults between the ages of 12 and 27.

Various associations and projects seek to promote integration, and can give you a clue who to turn to or even provide someone to accompany you to the doctor’s or the authorities. There are meeting spots in many parts of the city, where you can ask questions or make contact with local people (Information sheet 'Meeting and leisure').

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If I find I am struggling, where can I apply for social or financial support?

Subsistence

As soon as you are granted a secure residence status by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), you are entitled to apply to the 'Jobcenter' for benefits to meet your living expenses in accordance with Book Two of the German Social Code (SGB II). These benefits may only be claimed if you have no money of your own and are unable to pay for your basic needs. Magdeburg Jobcenter is responsible for helping those who are able to work, but who cannot meet their own living costs or those of their family dependants.

The first time such an application is made in Magdeburg, the Social Welfare and Housing Office works together with the Jobcenter to provide support. You can find a flyer explaining more about this here.

Asylum seekers and ‘tolerated persons’ receive basic financial support in Germany. On the basis of the Asylum Seekers’ Benefits Act and in accordance with the Reception and Residence Act the Social Welfare and Housing Office provides a variety of benefits. This includes wide-ranging assistance which can be allocated on a case-by-case basis, and which is intended to ensure that the recipient can meet their essential living and housing costs.

For further information see Information sheet 'Financial support'

Otto City Card

Social welfare recipients or people on a very low income can apply for the Otto City Card at the Social Welfare and Housing Office or at a Bürgerbüro (citizens’ centre) in Magdeburg. It can be used for participation in cultural life, educational and advisory opportunities or lower fares on public transport:

  • Free energy advice from the Verbraucherzentrale (consumer advice centre), and a contribution towards the cost of crèches, after-school facilities and kindergartens
  • Reduced fees for courses at the Volkshochschule (adult education centre) and the Stadtbibliothek (municipal library)
  • Access to charitable institutions
  • Lower fares on local public transport operated by Magdeburger Verkehrsbetriebe (MVB)
  • Reduced entry to some of the city’s cultural institutions

Benefits of the Bildungs- und Teilhabepaket (BuT) (education and participation package) are also accessible via Otto City Card. The education and participation package is designed to encourage and support children and young people from low-income families. In addition to having their normal monthly requirements met, these children and young adults can also receive additional educational assistance and be helped to participate in the social and cultural life of the community.

Housing benefit

If you are in rented accommodation, you may be entitled to housing benefit. The purpose of this allowance is to ensure that you can afford reasonable accommodation which meets the needs of your family.

It is intended to help low-income households meet their living expenses. Whether payment of this benefit can be approved, how much it will be, and for how long it will be paid, depends on a variety of factors including the following:

  • the number of people counted as members of the household,
  • the level of total income,
  • the level of eligible rent and/or charges.

You will only receive housing benefit if you submit the appropriate application and can demonstrate that you meet the necessary criteria. Once completed, you can return your application directly to the Social Welfare and Housing Office. The application may also be submitted to one of the citizens’ offices of the City of Magdeburg. However, if you are applying for the first time, we recommend that you return the application to the Social Welfare and Housing Office in person. You will then be able to receive wide-ranging advice.

=> Information on sourcing furniture, clothing and household goods (Information sheet about 'Furniture, clothes and household items').

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How can I rent private accommodation, and what do I need to be aware of?

As soon as the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) makes a positive decision in your case, you will be required to find your own apartment and arrange to rent it yourself. You can find information on searching for suitable accommodation here (Information sheet about 'Housing').

Before concluding a rental agreement, you should find out all the information you need to know: how much you will have to pay in rent and any ancillary costs (especially heating costs), the charge for the security deposit, the length of the lease (temporary or unlimited), and any renovation commitments.

Read this guide for information about what you need to know when renting an apartment in Germany.

If you are unable to meet your living expenses yourself, the Job Centre will bear the costs for your apartment. You should submit an application in good time and take advantage of the assistance offered by an advisory service. When looking for accommodation, you must take into account the guidelines provided by the Job Centre in terms of the size of the apartment and the level of rent charged. When you view the apartment, ask for a detailed rental offer made out in your name, with a breakdown of the rental charges. You should then submit the rental offer and an application for approval to the Job Centre so that a decision can be made. If you wish the Job Centre to bear the rental and removal costs, it must approve your application before you sign the rental agreement. Once you have signed the rental agreement, you can apply to the Job Centre for payment of the security deposit and removal costs, and for basic items of furniture.

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What do I have to do concerning the birth of a child?

If you are expecting a child, help is available from pregnancy counselling centres, which can answer any questions you might have about pregnancy and birth. The advice service is free, and you can remain anonymous if you prefer.

If you are in a conflict situation and are considering a termination of your pregnancy, please seek advice from the pregnancy counselling centre. If you are pregnant and in need of help, you can also call the confidential, multilingual helpline ‘Schwangere in Not’. This free service is available by phoning 0800/ 4040 020.

During your pregnancy and usually for up to three months after the birth you are entitled to receive care from a midwife. Midwives look after pregnant women before and after the birth of their child. The costs of this service are borne by the health insurance provider. As soon as you realise you are pregnant, you should start visiting a gynaecologist every four weeks, and every two weeks after the 32nd week of pregnancy. The costs of this are borne by the health insurance provider.

For working women, maternity leave lasts from 6 weeks before until 8 weeks after the birth. Pregnant women are not allowed to work during this period. It is your right to return to the workplace once your maternity leave ends. In addition, pregnant women may not be employed for more than 8.5 hours per day or perform any heavy physical work.

The child’s birth must be registered with the Standesamt (registry office) within one week. If the child is born in a hospital or other maternity clinic, the institution will register the birth. The birth certificate should be issued within four weeks of the birth. In the case of a new-born child, the certificate will be issued at Magdeburg Registry Office; the child’s parents should both be in attendance. Parents should make an appointment by email (geburtsanmeldung@std.magdeburg.de) or by phoning 0391/540-4215.

The registry office will send an electronic notification to the Aliens’ Authority. Once the parents have received a certificate of registration from the registry office, they must present it to the Foreigners’ Authority.

Elterngeld (maternity/ paternity pay) can be applied for after the birth of a child in Germany; it is intended to give parents time to attend to their responsibilities, and helps make up for the loss of income after the birth of a child. It is paid to mothers and fathers for a maximum of 14 months. They can split this period of time between them as they prefer. Contact details

You can find a summary of the steps to be taken before and after the birth of your child here (available soon), in addition to many useful contact details.

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What sort of political representation is there for the interests of immigrants?

The Beirat für Integration und Migration (Committee on Integration and Migration) in Magdeburg advises the local council on all matters which affect the city’s migrant population. It highlights shortcomings and areas of need in the field of integration, and offers advice to migrants in particular on any issue relating to everyday life in Magdeburg and the topics of asylum and integration.

The Chair of the Committee on Integration and Migration and the Integration Officer of the City of Magdeburg can be consulted at the city hall (Room 044). Contact details:

Beirat für Integration + Migration

Interessenvertretung, Beratungsgremium für Politik und Verwaltung und Mittler zwischen Magdeburgerinnen und Magdeburgern mit und ohne Migrationshintergrund
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