Germany received fewer asylum applications in 2018

Applications for asylum in Germany dropped considerably in 2018, marking the second straight year of decline in asylum applications, said German interior minister, Horst Seehofer.

“We have increasingly got to grips with immigration—we have created order and clear rules that are being enforced,” he said at a news conference on 23 January 2019. “But that doesn’t mean we have reached our goal.”

About 162,000 asylum applications were registered in 2018, 13 per cent less than that in 2017. Most applicants were from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran. It included 32,000 infants under age one, all born in Germany to asylum-seeking mothers.

Seehofer said the fall in applications can be attributed to tighter border controls and the deal with Ankara to return all asylum seekers and irregular migrants crossing from Turkey to Europe. Analysts said decreasing levels of violence in Syria and Iraq could also have contributed to the reduced number.

Germany was one of the most welcoming countries in Europe for asylum seekers in 2015-16. Over a million asylum seekers, mostly from Syria, were accepted in that time period alone.. However, the 2017 election saw a rise in angry German voters who disapproved of the rate of immigration. Since then, the country’s policies have sought to reduce those numbers. This included measures such as limiting the number of people who can join their loved ones in Germany under the family reunification laws for refugees to 1,000 per month.

Overall, about 12,000 applications from Afghanistan were accepted, compared to 46,000 from Syria. The acceptance rate in Germany now stands at about 35 per cent, a significant drop to 43 per cent in 2017.

Over 16,000 rejected Afghan asylum seekers in Germany now face the prospect of deportation. Since December 2016, 20 flights carrying 430 rejected asylum seekers have arrived in the Afghan capital of Kabul.

TMP – 11/02/2019

Photo credit: photocosmos1/Shutterstock. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and the Minister for the Interior, Horst Seehofer, arrive at the press room at the party headquarter.