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Germany’s reduction of cash benefits for asylum-seekers has been criticized as a measure aimed at reducing migration

An asylum seeker pays for his purchase (Via Joyner Hazelwood/Getty Images)

When Erdina Laca goes shopping for groceries in Eichsfeld nowadays, she uses a special payment card meant for asylum-seekers.

Instead of paying cash like most Germans in line at the register, Laca, 45, from Albania, who applied for asylum with her family last September, now splits her government benefits between a plastic card and cash.

“With half the money on the card, I buy groceries, and with the other half in cash, I can shop wherever I need for me and my children,” Laca said.

Erdina Laca and her husband are shopping in a grocery store (Via Joyner Hazelwood/Getty Images)

The new rule, passed by parliament last month, mandates asylum-seekers to receive benefits on a card for use at local stores and services. They can only withdraw limited cash amounts and cannot send money abroad or to smugglers.

Critics, including migrant advocate groups, argue the regulation is unfair. They say Germany, where cash is still widely used and some businesses only accept cash, should not single out asylum-seekers. They believe this approach may ostracize migrants further and won’t deter them from seeking refuge in Germany.

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