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January 09, 2020

Refugee numbers in Germany fall for third year in a row

Refugee numbers in Germany fall for third year in a row

IZA World of Labor author Tim Hatton writes that offering a safe haven for refugees can be viewed as a public good, and this provides a basis for cooperation on asylum policies across EU countries. “The Common European Asylum System has harmonized policies, but harmonization has not improved the severe imbalance in the distribution of asylum applications across countries […] Since 1989, the overwhelming majority of asylum-seekers to the developed world have claimed asylum in Europe (77%), mostly in the pre-2004 member states of the EU (71%). More than half of applications in Europe were received by three countries: Germany (28%), the UK (12%), and France (11%),” he notes in his article.

However, according to Germany’s interior ministry, the number of people claiming asylum in the country has now fallen for the third year in a row. There has been a fall of 14.3% in first-time asylum applications made in 2019, compared to 2018 and fewer refugees have been arriving at the country’s borders since the height of the migrant crisis in 2015. Just under a quarter of the total number of claims received were made by Syrian nationals (26,453 people), followed by asylum-seekers from Iraq (10,0894 people), Turkey (10,275), Iran (7,778) and Afghanistan (7,124).

“The numerous measures of recent years against uncontrolled immigration are working…  [however] migration pressure at the [EU’s] external borders and to Germany remains high,” the interior minister Horst Seehofer said in a statement. According to last year’s figures from the UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees office, Germany is hosting the fifth most refugees, at 1.06m, compared to any other nation, and the most of any other developed Western country. Figures released last summer point to the fact that approximately 20.8m people in Germany have an immigrant background, which amounts to roughly a quarter of the total population, but only 15% of those arrived as asylum-seekers.

Read Tim Hatton’s article Setting policy on asylum: Has the EU got it right?