Refugees and Asylum: Federal Office Expects Fewer Initial Applications

Sunday, 03.11.2019

The trend continues: In the current year, the number of initial applications for asylum in Germany will decline slightly, according to the competent authorities. "I assume that by the end of the year we will land at 140,000 to 145,000, so a little less than 2018," said Hans-Eckard Sommer, head of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (Bamf), the "Bild am Sonntag" ,


The number of asylum applications remains below the 200,000 mark, which the grand coalition has set as the upper limit. Above all, the CSU had pushed to this limit.

In 2018, the number was just under 162,000, in 2016, there were still 722,000 initial applications.

  "We are currently at about 110,000 initial applications," said Sommer. This corresponds to eleven percent less than in the previous year. The number was already announced with the latest monthly statistics of the Bamf in October and refers to the months of January to September 2019. According to the Federal Interior Ministry, the country of origin was Syria with about 30,000 applications, followed by Iraq with almost 11,700 applications. In third place came Turkey with just over 8300 applications.


According to Sommer, the authorities can handle the current volume of applications well. In the vast majority of cases, the processing time is 3.1 months. "Only more complicated procedures take longer, so the total processing time for all procedures is six months."

  The Bamf boss pointed out that only 35 to 38 percent of the applications would be recognized. "That means: Almost two-thirds of those who come to Germany have no reason for asylum."

Dehydration, starvation, traffic accidents: tragedies by land

  The UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, published in October current figures that highlight the dangers facing refugees on their way to Europe. When fleeing across the Mediterranean, more than 1,000 people drowned this year. In 2018, the UNHCR counted 2,277 dead and missing persons.


However, the relief organization also warns of the dangers for migrants by land. According to Vincent Cochetel, UNHCR representative for the situation of refugees on the Central Mediterranean route, "World on Sunday", it is estimated that at least twice as many people would die on their way to the Mediterranean.

  How many are exactly? Nobody can say that for sure, but it is a tragedy, says Cochetel. Why do people die? According to the newspaper, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) cites traffic shortages as the leading cause of death on the rural routes for 2018, followed by thirst, violence, starvation and disease.

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