27 February 2015

A new AIDA update by Informationsverbund Asyl und Migration details legislative changes improving the situation of asylum seekers in the country.

Since November 2014, asylum seekers now only have to wait for three months (down from nine) to be able to work in Germany after submitting their asylum application.

Since January 2015 most migrants are able to move freely within Germany after having resided in the country for three months. Previously, asylum seekers and other migrants, who cannot be returned, were obliged to remain in a particular municipality and apply for a permit to leave their area.

Furthermore, in November 2014, the German authorities introduced further accelerated procedures for those groups with a strong likelihood of being granted refugee status. The aim of this development was to enable the individuals involved, mostly Syrians and members of some ethnic minority groups from Iraq, to receive a decision on their asylum claim within 11 days.

On the other hand, in November 2014, Serbia, Macedonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina were added to the list of “safe countries of origin”. Applications from asylum seekers from these countries can now summarily be rejected as “manifestly unfounded” unless the applicant provides evidence that he or she is at a particular risk of persecution.

Finally, the report shows that, in the second half of 2014, Germany stopped using prisons to detain migrants awaiting return. This followed a ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union in July 2014 which found that detention for the purpose of removal of illegally staying third-country nationals has to be carried out in specialised detention facilities in all Federal States of Germany.

With over 173,000 people applying for asylum in Germany in 2014, Germany received approximately 33% of all asylum applications lodged in the EU during that period.

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This article originally appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 27 February 2015. You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.