Germany toughens asylum law as missing migrants highlight admin chaos

A package of asylum measures aimed at reducing migration to Germany and speeding up the application process passed the final hurdle in the German Parliament Friday, after the upper house voted in favour of the new legislation.

The vote in the Bundesrat, the German Parliament's upper house, came one day after its approval by a large majority in the lower house Bundestag.

The so-called asylum package II is now set to come into legislative force pending a signature from the head of state.

The new legislation includes the establishment of new reception centres to house migrants from countries deemed safe in a bid to speed up deportations. It also limits the number of asylum seekers entitled to bring their families to Germany.

Under the new laws, asylum seekers given access to integration courses will also be expected to contribute 10 euros (11 dollars) a month towards the costs.

These measures are the latest in a series of laws introduced in Germany to tackle the migration crisis, which has been characterized by chaotic scenes at border crossings and reception centres across Europe.

Almost one in every eight migrants arriving in Germany disappears after his or her registration, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily reported, citing information from the Interior Ministry.

Around 13 per cent of the 1.1 million migrants and refugees registered in the country last year did not show up at the reception centres to which they were sent, the ministry said in response to a parliamentary question from the Left Party (Die Linke), according to the report.

This amounts to over 130,000 people unaccounted for. Many could have travelled onwards to other countries or become involved in illegal work or crime, the Interior Ministry said in its response.

On Thursday, the head of the Ministry for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), Frank-Juergen Weise, said that authorities do not know the names and identities of up to 400,000 people in Germany.

According to Friday's report, the ministry said it is becoming increasingly difficult due to a lack of information to implement the so-called Dublin rule, which stipulates that asylum seekers' applications must be processed in the EU country in which they first set foot.

German authorities asked another EU member to take back an applicant in one in 10 cases in 2015. In 2014, a request was sent in one in five cases.

Germany suspended the Dublin regulation for refugees fleeing the Syrian civil war for a short period last year.

Last update: Fri, 24/06/2016 - 08:49

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