The registration of asylum applications in France continues to face severe obstacles, as illustrated by recent statistics on the operation of the telephone registration platform set up by the Office for Immigration and Integration (OFII) in the Ile-de-France region.

Since its launch on 2 May 2018 and until 31 December 2018, the telephone platform answered 61,957 calls and granted 46,139 appointments for registration. The telephone appointment with OFII does not substitute the existing procedural stage prior to registration with Prefectures in France, whereby asylum seekers obtain an appointment with an orientation platform (plateforme d’accueil de demandeurs d’asile, PADA), which then gives them an appointment to appear before the “single desk” (guichet unique de demandeur d’asile, GUDA) at the Prefecture to register their claim.

However, figures (“chiffres noirs”) recently made available by the Prefecture of Ile-de-France reveal much higher numbers of calls made to the platform. The number of “eligible calls” received by the telephone service was as high as 571,115 during this period. Numbers of calls increased particularly during the last months of the year: 91,772 in October, 100,713 in November and 84,844 in December.

According to La Cimade, these figures indicate that nearly 90% of calls made to the OFII telephone service until the end of 2018 were unsuccessful. In an order issued in February 2019, the Administrative Court of Paris warned about the risks of “virtual queues” of asylum seekers being created due to the insufficient capacity of the authorities to promptly register their claims.

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This article appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin . You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.