Germany Agrees To Welcome 10,000 More Refugees From the Middle East & North Africa
The German government has pledged to accept more than 10,000 refugees from the Middle East and North Africa. The country’s acceptance of refugees is a commitment to resettling those considered particularly vulnerable.
The European Union (EU) showed appreciation for Berlin’s willingness to shelter refugees, saying that Germany shows solidarity by playing a vital role in the bloc’s latest resettlement policy.
Dimitris Avramopoulos, the EU Commissioner for Refugees, said on Thursday: “The German government is once again there when it comes to international solidarity.”
The EU will give the hosting nation financial assistance worth €500 million or the refugee program, aimed at providing a safe and legal route to Europe for refugees in need of protection. Around 50,000 refugees from war-torn areas are expected to arrive in the EU by 2019. Other member countries have agreed to resettle 40,000 refugees.
How many people have been granted asylum in the EU member countries?
According to a Eurostat report, the EU granted protection for 538,000 asylum seekers in 2017. Out of the 538,000 refugees, 33 percent were from Syria. The next largest refugee groups were Afghan nationals at 19 percent and then Iraqi refugees at 12 percent.
One million people have applied for asylum in Germany since the migrant crisis reached its peak in 2015. Data from the country’s Federal Office for Migration and Refugees reveal most of the migrants arriving in Germany came from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Eritrea in 2016.
Germany comes in first for the country awarding the highest number of refugees protection status in 2017 at 325,400. France came second (40,600), followed by Italy (35,100), Austria (34,000) and Sweden (31,200).
Germany has different protections given to asylum seekers and refugees
Not all refugees are granted protection. Germany’s Federal Office For Migration and Refugees (BAMF) differentiates between “asylum seekers,” “asylum applicants,” and “persons entitled to protection” and “persons entitled to remain.”.
According to BAMF, an “asylum seeker” is a person who intends to file for asylum but is not registered yet. An “asylum applicant” is a person whose cases are handled by the BAMF, but the institution has yet to decide his or her status.
“People entitled to remain” and “persons entitled to protection” include either those recognized as refugees or people who can get an alternative form of protection from the German state.
Protections for asylum seekers versus refugees also varies. The BAMF grants “asylum” only to those who are persecuted for their political beliefs or subjected to gross human rights violations by the state. Those fleeing from poverty, civil wars, natural disasters and so on are considered refugees and not possible asylum seekers.
The BAMF offers different kinds of staying permits for refugees. People whose asylum or refugee applications are still pending can receive residence authorization (Aufenthaltsgestattung) that allows them to live and work legally in Germany under certain conditions. Residence permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis) is provided depending on whether a migrant is given refugee status, asylum or is “barred from deportation”. This permit is valid for one to three years and can be extended.
Acceptance rates also vary in each state
The rates of asylum and refugees accepted in Germany are not uniform across the country, acceptance rates can vary widely from state to state. Iraqi refugees in Bremen, northwestern Germany, had acceptance rates of almost 96 percent in 2017. While in Berlin, only 50 percent of Iraqis were entitled to asylum or refugee status in the same period.
The wild fluctuations in the acceptance rates of refugees across Germany have raised concerns but the government has yet to offer an explanation for the varying rates across states.
Germany is still clearly leading the way in welcoming refugees and asylum seekers. The announcement of accepting another 10,000 refugees demonstrates Germany’s leadership in the continuing refugee crisis that plagues Africa and Europe.