BAMF - Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge - FAQ: "Ankommen-App"

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FAQ: "Ankommen-App"

Date 6 March 2017

What topics and contents will I find in the app?

The app contains information on the asylum procedure, on access to the labour market, and on "Living in Germany". The chapter entitled "Living in Germany" takes up topics which are important for everyday life, such as Who can I turn to for advice? When does my child have to go to school? What are the road traffic rules? Several texts within this chapter deal with the political and legal system in Germany, freedom of religion or equal rights for men and women. The goal is to make available the most important information that is needed in order to integrate asylum-seekers quickly. The app also has an integrated, free, multimedia language course which provides practical everyday support when taking the first steps in German. Users particularly benefit from the combination of information and the language course. Personal statements from people who have immigrated to Germany provide information about life here in a personal, informal way.

Since when has the Arrival app been available?

The app was developed in the autumn of 2015, and has been available free of charge in the app stores for Android and iOS since the beginning of January 2016.

Who is the app’s target group?

The app targets displaced persons who have only been in Germany for a few weeks. "Ankommen" ("Arrival") is a guide to quickly become comprehensively orientated during this period, and is tailored towards the immediate needs of people who only recently arrived in Germany.

Who was involved in developing the app?

The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees developed the "Ankommen" ("Arrival") app together with the Federal Employment Agency (BA), the Bayerischer Rundfunk broadcasting corporation (BR) and the Goethe-Institut.

Were there any displaced persons involved in developing the app?

During the planning period, this target group was surveyed in reception facilities on a sample basis, amongst other things on the information which they would like to see in an app and on the questions which they have regarding the asylum procedure and on the topic of work. This survey as well as the experience which we have had in the field of integration formed the basis for drawing up the content. When drafting the texts, it was attempted to ensure that the wording was simple and not patronising in order to reach people and not alienate them.

In which languages does the app exist?

"Ankommen" ("Arrival") is available in Arabic, English, Farsi, French and German.

Do I have to be online in order to use the app?

The app can also be used offline, meaning that no Internet connection is needed once it has been downloaded.

With which operating systems can the app be used?

There are versions for Android and iOS mobiles.

What does it cost to download the app?

The app is free of charge.

Why was it decided to create an app for this project?

Asylum-seekers in reception facilities were surveyed in the planning period, and it emerged here that a majority of asylum-seekers have smartphones to find their way during their flight and remain in touch with their families in their home countries.

How do displaced persons learn about the app?

The app is publicised everywhere asylum-seekers are found: In reception facilities, the BAMF's branch offices, arrival centres, employment agencies and job centres and immigration authorities, as well as via integration course organisers and in migration advice centres.

What has the response to the app been?

  • The echo among displaced persons, volunteers, staff in the authorities and the press has been highly positive on the whole.
  • The app has already been downloaded about 210,000 times.
  • The Stiftung Warentest consumer organisation tested apps for learning German in April, and only rated two apps out of ten as "good". One of these was the app "Ankommen" ("Arrival").
  • The app already received several awards: the LeadAward in Gold in the category Online as startup of the year 2016, the "WSA-Germany 2016"-Award and a nomination for the UN-World Summit Award MOBIL in the category "Government and Citizen Engangement", and received the "Best m-Government Service Award 2017" of the World Government Summit in Dubai in the category "Social Affairs".
  • The app has also provoked considerable interest among other asylum authorities in the EU which do not yet have an app themselves. The approach was particularly praised to combine several central topical areas (language, asylum procedure, orientation in everyday life, the labour market), and hence to avoid fragmenting the sources of information.

What is special about the app compared to other apps for displaced persons?

  • The combination of information and the language course is particularly beneficial to users.
  • The contents of the app are valid nationwide, local information and services being deliberately left out.
  • Playful elements (amongst other things it is possible to collect points for reading texts or doing exercises) provide a motivation to use the app frequently.
  • The app can also be used offline, meaning that no Internet connection is needed once it has been downloaded.
  • The app was designed not to take up much memory space.

Is the app to be expanded?

The app is being continuously developed. The section on the asylum procedure has been updated, and more chapters have been added to the language course provided by the Goethe-Institut. New chapters will be added. There is also a website with the same content at www.ankommenapp.de.

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