People who move to Germany without a job from other EU countries could have to wait five years before they can apply for social benefits under a plan agreed to by the German coalition government on Wednesday.
Those who have found jobs in their new host country would be able to receive benefits, according to the draft legislation.
"One thing is clear: Whoever lives, works and contributes here has a valid claim for benefits in our welfare system," Labour and Social Affairs Minister Andrea Nahles, who drafted the bill, said.
However, "those who have not yet worked here and need basic financial support from the state" must apply for benefits "in the relevant home country," she added.
Under the proposed tightening of the rules, Germany would pay to support the EU migrant for one month while they are asked to leave the country.
In June, almost 450,000 people from other EU member states were receiving Germany's most basic level of unemployment benefit - amounting to 12.1 per cent of all EU migrants in the country.
Under the European Union's fundamental principle of free movement, citizens can move around the bloc to work and find employment in other member states.