ECRE has published a report that presents the findings of a fact-finding visit to Germany from 1 to 5 April 2019.

The report analyses the model for Arrival, Decision and Municipal Distribution or Return (“AnkER”) centres implemented in the Federal State of Bavaria since August 2018. The AnkER approach developed was launched with the aim of increasing efficiency by concentrating all actors involved in the processing of asylum applications at locations where asylum seekers are accommodated. The premise of AnkER centres is that by keeping applicants at the disposal of the asylum authorities the process will be speeded up and result in fast decision-making and clarity on people’s perspectives: integration in German society or return to the country of origin or to another EU country under the Dublin system.

However, the findings of this report suggest that certain aspects of the AnkER approach risk undermining asylum seekers’ access to a quality asylum procedure and adequate reception conditions. This results mainly from the increasing linkage between asylum and return from the outset of the procedure. The approach is liable to hinder the provision of guarantees such as access to independent, timely and individual counselling. Its impact on the quality of decision-making is not yet clear, but statistics so far indicate risks that asylum seekers face more restrictive assessments of international protection needs in AnkER centres compared to the rest of Germany. Also, the linkage between asylum and return results in mainstreaming punitive measures which reduce reception conditions available to all residents, and in a dangerous expansion of detention well beyond last resort use in exceptional circumstances.

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*This information was first published by AIDA, managed by ECRE.

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