A study published last week by the University of Konstanz highlighted differential asylum recognition rates across German states and calls for monitoring of decisions taken by individual staff members and the regional branches of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF).

The study illustrates widely  differing asylum recognition rates among German states – a situation  its co-author Gerald Schneider refers to as German “asylum lottery.” While overall recognition rates have increased constantly from 2010 to 2015, the difference between the states hasalso grown.  According to the study, the states with the highest recognition rates were Saarland (69 percent) and Bremen (55.7 percent). The states with the lowest rates are Berlin (24.6 percent) and Saxony (26.9 percent).

Looking at specific nationalities, the study shows that while recognition rates of Syrians are relatively even among states, those of people from Iraq and Afghanistan vary. 75.5 percent of all asylum seekers from Iraq have been granted a positive asylum decision, but only 37.5 percent of Iraqis in Saxony – Anhalt were accepted. Similar gaps persist for Afghan asylum seekers; North-Rhine-Westphalia accepted 34.4 percent of all applications and Brandenburg only 10 percent.

In view of these findings the authors of the study called for a limitation of individual decision makers’ independence as well as a closer monitoring of decisions taken by individual staff members and regional BAMF branches. Quality concerns in the asylum procedure were also highlighted in a “memorandum” signed by twelve German NGOs in late November 2016. A central critique raised in the memorandum is that more than 66% asylum decisions were not taken by the BAMF staff member that conducted the interview, but in a remote location decision making centre.

Media reported earlier last week that the quality of the German asylum procedure has decreased after the implementation of the McKinsey strategy contradictory to its purpose of  making the work of the BAMF more efficien

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Photo: (cc) Indiana Public Media

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