According to agreements within the framework of the COMET programme, 10 people from Niger, the country of first asylum, are to be admitted to Germany via the NesT programme this year.

So far, a single woman from Eritrea, a mother with three children from Eritrea and a mother with three children from South Sudan have been admitted. Mentor groups from Baden-Württemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia made their entry possible. The refugees arrived in Germany at the end of March 2023 and were welcomed by the mentoring groups in early April.

The mentoring group from North Rhine-Westphalia said at the first monitoring meeting that everything had gone very well so far, including dealing with the authorities. They are also getting support from local charities. The older children were very happy to have their own room in the apartment.


About EKvW

With 2.5 million members, the Evangelical Church of Westphalia (EKvW) is the fourth largest regional church (after Hanover, Rhineland and Bavaria) under the umbrella of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD).

In addition to regular church work, mission, pastoral care and inter-religious dialogue, the EKvW is intensively involved in the issues and challenges of climate change, flight and migration, as well as social and societal problems (e.g. right-wing populism). Helping refugees is one of the church’s core tasks.

The Protestant Church in Germany (EKvW) is one of the civil society providers of the humanitarian reception programme “NesT – Neustart im Team”.

The role of the EKvW in the COMET programme is to represent the NesT programme, to network with other European providers of different humanitarian admission programmes, to exchange ideas and experiences and thus to develop common standards for the admission of refugees and to help implement new admission programmes for refugees.

About NesT – Neustart im Team

NesT is a government and civil society programme in Germany. The NesT programme is the responsibility of the Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI), the Federal Government Commissioner for Migration, Refugees, Integration and Combating Racism (IntB) and the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF). On the civil society side, the sponsors are the Red Cross, Caritas and the Church of Westphalia (EKvW); these three also form the Civil Society Contact Point (ZKS). NesT is an additional humanitarian admission programme of the Federal Government for particularly vulnerable refugees in countries of first asylum. Under the programme, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) selects these people in the countries of first asylum, which are currently Egypt, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Niger and Pakistan. Admission is conditional on the support of a local mentoring group. This means that individuals or organisations can form a group to host refugees. This is a voluntary role. A mentoring group consists of at least four people who are trained by the ZKS and supported in the application process and in hosting the refugees. Admitted persons receive a residence permit in accordance with § 23 para. 4 AufenthG, initially for three years. This permit can then be extended. They receive benefits in accordance with SGB II, i.e. citizen’s income, and can take part in the integration course.

NesT provides a legal and safe access route to Germany for people in need of protection. Mentors help refugees find a new home in Germany. Admitted refugees live at their place of residence or close to the mentoring groups. This allows the refugees to benefit from the support of the mentors. They come into direct contact with the host society and can take part in social life. The personal contact between the refugees and the mentoring groups increases the acceptance of the refugees and the willingness of the society to accept them.

The objectives of the NesT programme are:

  • immediate contact between those in need of protection and the host society;
  • better participation in social life according to the refugees’ abilities and wishes;
  • to strengthen and qualify social commitment;
  • increasing the acceptance of the host society by reducing fears through personal contact between refugees and mentors;
  • improving the framework conditions for integration, which also benefits other immigrants.