Peggy Reuter-Heinrich, the CEO of Heinrich & Reuter Solutions, which worked on the app with Saxonia Systems, said there were many initiatives to help refugees integrate, but that more needed to be done to help people when first arriving in Germany. She said the app would help them deal with bureaucracy better than paper documents.
Germany takes in more asylum seekers than any other EU country. In 2014 more than 200,000 applications were made and authorities expect numbers to double this year, something that has caused tension in some parts of the country.
Over the past months, there has been an increase in attacks on refugee homes. Thousands of people took to the streets in Dresden earlier this year for demonstrations by Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the West (Pegida) that called, among other things, for tighter immigration controls.
Many others, however, have stepped up to try to help those arriving. The welcome app, which is available in English, German, French, Arabic and Russian, is one of several initiatives aimed at making things easier for asylum seekers.
Another, Refugees Welcome, has tried to pair up refugees with Germans willing to rent out a room in their homes. A survey conducted by the polling institute Emnid in April revealed that a quarter of Germans would open their doors to refugees.
So far, the app has only been made available in Dresden, but Reuter-Heinrich said she hoped it would soon be rolled out across Germany and would make more of an impact than any demonstration or debate.
“We don’t want to do things like going on the streets. We don’t want to talk,” she said. “We want to do things that will be helpful for the people who need help.”