How does church asylum work?

The decision on granting church asylum is mostly made by the church leadership or council. The church community can receive advice from staff members of the Commissioner for Refugees and Migration or from parish offices for refugees that many state churches and dioceses have established. Moreover, the arrangement and implementation of church asylum can be supported by (church) counsel-ling centres, migration services and the local working groups on “Church Asylum”.

The Foreigners Office or another responsible local authority will be informed by the church community on their decision on granting asylum.

The asylum-granting church community pro-vides a space to live and prepare food and with sanitary facilities. Often there is a circle of supporters that assists the parish council and its members and the refugees in their everyday life (e.g. during conversations with lawyers and authority representatives and by connecting them with local initiatives).

In most cases, church asylum is financed through donations received by the parish. The duration of fundraising varies from a few weeks to several months.