Berlin on Tuesday agreed measures aimed at curbing an unprecedented surge in migrants, including cuts to cash payments, as a backlash grew over the German government's handling of the refugee crisis.
The new laws are aimed at lifting some of the pressures on overworked local officials and reassuring voters that the government is in control of the migrant problem. Berlin wants the laws to take effect as soon as November.
Chancellor Angela Merkel has come under mounting pressure, including from within her own CDU/CSU coalition, since she pledged to set "no upper limit" on the right to asylum and promised to accept all refugees from Syria. Officials expects 800,000 refugees this year, four times more than 2014.
In a surprise development, Joachim Gauck, German president, who is widely viewed as a liberal, on Sunday launched a thinly veiled attack on Ms Merkel's handling of the crisis, saying: "Our reception capacity is limited even when it has not yet been worked out where these limits lie."
Cash handouts of 143 euros a month for a single person are seen as making Germany more desirable for migrants than other European states. Refugees will instead receive non-cash benefits, such as food vouchers. Cash payments for living expenses will largely be stopped for asylum-seekers living in official reception centres.