Asylum immigration to the EU has also increased significantly in the current year beyond the flight of many Ukrainians. This is the result of figures from the EU asylum agency EUAA, which are available to WELT AM SONNTAG. “339,984 asylum applications were made between January 1 and June 14, 92 percent more than in the same period last year,” according to a confidential communication from the authority to the EU Commission.

The main nationalities were Afghans (42,900) and Syrians (34,900), who prefer to move on to Germany, and Venezuelans (22,900), who seek protection almost exclusively in Spain. According to this, Ukrainians only submitted 22,700 applications in the current year. A special rule enables them to obtain a temporary protection title for civil war refugees in the EU directly without an asylum procedure.

The Asylum Agency points out that these are preliminary figures, based on the summation of the data transmitted weekly by the Member States. The official figures are only communicated with a delay of months.

In the first half of the year, Germany was the main destination for asylum seekers in Europe, as it has been consistently since 2012. According to the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), there were 71,122 asylum applications by the end of May, 51 percent more than in the same period last year. It is noteworthy that the overall protection rate, i.e. the proportion of asylum seekers who receive refugee, subsidiary or deportation protection from the BAMF, has risen to 51 percent.

In recent years, usually only about a third of the applicants have been recognized. The record high is also related to the fact that decisions are now being taken on many applications from Syrians who have been recognized as refugees in Greece over the past few years, but then moved to Germany to submit new applications. These cases have been postponed for a long time and are now gradually being processed, almost always ending with an acknowledgment.

The current asylum law generally considers people who fled from Syria to Turkey many years ago, left for Greece at some point and from there on to Germany to be entitled to protection.

Apart from some of the Afghans who have been flown in via the special reception since the Taliban took power and who still apply for asylum – which they do not have to do if the evidence of their local work is meaningful – most of those arriving in Germany in the first half of 2022 will travel Asylum seekers from other EU countries where they were already safe from war or persecution.

However, based on the laws passed by previous federal governments, the case law of the administrative courts is increasingly judging a lack of social security, i.e. good accommodation and care in other EU countries, as a sufficient reason for refugee protection in Germany.

That means: people who once fled from their homeland on other continents to a safe neighboring country from political persecution or war, but from there moved on to an EU state – i.e. mainly to Italy or Greece – and from there during their asylum procedure or at some point who continue to travel to Germany after being recognized as a refugee are usually legally regarded as refugees.

Most of them get the opportunity to apply for German citizenship after a few years. The current government wants to massively lower these hurdles again. The red-green-yellow coalition agreement states: “Naturalization should generally be possible after five years, or after three years in the case of special integration efforts.” If this plan is implemented, Germany should soon be the western country that attracts immigrants fastest to make citizens.

The left-liberal government is currently planning an integration offensive for illegal migrants who have been rejected in the asylum process. By the upcoming summer break, the federal cabinet is to adopt a legislative package to make it even easier to issue residence permits to foreigners who are actually required to leave the country. When the law comes into force, the number of people who are currently obliged to leave the country should drop from around 300,000 to around 200,000. The reason for this is the planned “opportunity right of residence”, for which around 100,000 people are eligible, according to government estimates.

These are those who are obliged to leave the country with a “Duldung” who have been living in the country for five years by January 1, 2022. For example, people who entered the country in 2016, were rejected by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) in 2018, then were finally rejected by the court in 2019 – 90 percent complained about the rejection – but then did not comply with their obligation to leave the country and were granted a toleration.

With the exception of criminals and people who have proven to have prevented their deportation through identity fraud, they are to be granted a residence permit for one year, during which they have time to fulfill the requirements for a permanent residence permit: securing their livelihood for the most part, basic language skills and a clarified identity. If this is not successful at the end of the year, they can revert to their old status, i.e. they are obliged to leave the country with a temporary suspension of deportation.

However, the approximately 100,000 affected persons who are required to leave the country with a temporary suspension of deportation are usually allowed to work, learn the language and help clarify their identity, which is often the reason why the long overdue deportation does not take place.

“Kick-off Politics” is WELT’s daily news podcast. The most important topic analyzed by WELT editors and the dates of the day. Subscribe to the podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music or directly via RSS feed.