Germany runs massive backlog on asylum applications
German authorities are struggling to process hundreds of thousands of asylum applications, the head of the country's refugee office admitted Friday, even though a record influx of migrants was finally slowing.
"Between 670,000 and 770,000 people who arrived in Germany in 2015 still had not received the final decision on their asylum applications" and a majority have not even been able to file their applications, said Frank-Juergen Weise, who heads the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees.
"It's an unacceptable situation. It's serious and unacceptable for people to have to wait so long. It's bad for the prospects of integration and also bad for the job market when it takes so long," he added.
Before an asylum application can be filed, newcomers have to first be registered by the authorities before they are sent to states across the country according to a proportional quota system.
Upon their arrival in the state they have been assigned to, they can then file their applications.
Weise said that between 300,000 and 400,000 refugees in Germany have still not even been registered.
The authorities were meanwhile running a backlog of 370,000 applications at year's end, he added.
Germany has been struggling to cope with 1.1 million asylum seekers in 2015 and Berlin has introduced a raft of measures aimed at slowing the influx.
In January, the number of new arrivals reached 91,674, about 28 percent fewer than in December. Syrians fleeing a brutal war in their homeland remained the biggest group of newcomers with 35,822.
© 2016 AFP