Strong decline in number of asylum-seekers entering Germany
The number of asylum-seekers arriving in Germany dropped considerably in March. As Federal Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière announced, about 20,000 asylum-seekers were registered in the so-called Easy System of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees last month. In February the figure was 60,000, in January 90,000 and last December 120,000.
Compared to the last three months of 2015, numbers of asylum-seekers arriving in Germany were some 66 per cent down in the first three months of 2016.
More rapid integration – swifter deportation
It is important on the one hand to integrate refugees with good prospects of staying in Germany more rapidly, said Thomas de Maizière, while on the other ensuring that those who have no prospects of staying are returned more swiftly to their own countries.
The EU-Turkey Agreement has come into effect and is working smoothly, reported the Federal Interior Minister. German federal police officers and staff from the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees are helping implement the agreement on the ground.
Commenting on the number of asylum-seekers from the Western Balkan states, he reported that one year ago this group accounted for 61 per cent of the total. Now they account for only 5 per cent of requests for asylum. This is a clear indication that the classification of the Balkan states as safe countries of origin is having the desired effect, he said.
The number of deportations has also increased significantly, reported Thomas de Maizière. In the first two months of 2016, a total of 4,500 people were deported. Most recently, a group of unsuccessful Tunisian asylum-seekers was flown back to their own country on Thursday (7 April).
Federal Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière concluded readmission agreements with the governments of Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria at the end of February 2016.
Too early to make any forecasts for the year
In spite of the positive trends in numbers in the first three months of the year it is too early to make any forecasts for the year as a whole. "We do not know what the long-term impact of the implementation of the EU-Turkey Agreement will be," said Thomas de Maizière.
It is also unclear how alternative refugee routes will develop, particularly routes across the Mediterranean from Libya to Italy, and how Italy will respond. The Federal Interior Minister concluded that trends over the last few months are positive and demonstrate that "the steps we have taken are having the intended impact".
More decisions taken on applications for asylum
Frank-Jürgen Weise, Head of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, added that in the first three months of the year the Office has managed to finalise decisions on significantly more cases. Over this period decisions were taken on about 150,000 applications, as compared to 58,000 in the last quarter of 2015.
The number of applications for asylum actually rose in the first quarter of this year, said Jürgen Weise. Many people who had entered Germany earlier have now submitted an application. New applications are being turned around in less than three months, reported the Head of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees. The rising staffing levels of the Office are helping, as is the digitalisation of the system used to process applications.