German officials clear backlog of asylum claims as applications surge

German officials are facing a huge backlog of asylum claims despite a fall in the number applicants seeking stay in the nation.

The German Office for Migration of Refugees processed 462,314 asylum applications during the first nine months of 2016 - a leap of 165 per cent compared with the same period in 2015, Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said Wednesday.

Almost 70,000 applications were decided in September 2016 alone, de Maiziere said.

The increase in asylum claims handled by officials comes after Chancellor Angela Merkel's government introduced new measures aimed at streamlining the process.

The total number of new asylum seekers who entered Germany between January and September this year fell sharply to 213,000.

De Maziere said 657,855 asylum applications were recorded in the first nine months of the year - a rise of 116.8 per cent over the same period in 2015.

The Interior Ministry attributed the increase to refugees who arrived in 2015 but only submitted their applications this year.

More than 250,000 of the total number of claims between January and September were from Syrians escaping their nation's five-year civil war, while 116,000 came from Afghanistan, 89,000 from Iraq and 23,000 were from Iran, de Maiziere said.

Last month, Germany revised down the number of asylum seekers who arrived in the country last year to 890,000 from an initially reported 1.1 million.

Last update: Wed, 12/10/2016 - 22:05

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