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About 475,000 people formally applied for asylum in Germany during 2015. In total, around 91,500 asylum applications were denied, while 137,000 people were recognized as refugees. Many more are waiting.
According to official government data shared by Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere on Wednesday, 1,091,894 people registered in Germany between January and December last year.
Syrians fleeing war accounted for 428,468, Afghans 154,046 and Iraqis 121,662 of the people who registered. Asylum seekers from Albania and Kosovo took fourth and fifth place, at about 69,000 and 33,000, respectively.
De Maziere described theinflux of migrants and refugees as the largest to enter Germany since the end of World War II, when millions of German refugees either fled or were forced out of central Europe.
The number of asylum applications more than doubled from 2014, when about 203,000 official applications were filed. Government figures show that 476,649 people formally applied for asylum in 2015, out of which 162,510 applications were from Syrians.
After Syrians came Albanians with 55,000 applications, followed by Kosovo with 37,000. Afghanistan came in fourth with 32,000 and Iraq fifth with 31,000 applications.
Since the beginning of the war in Syria, around 230,000 people from the war-torn country have been granted asylum, with an approval rate of some 96 percent. In contrast, asylum seekers from the Balkans now have very little chance of being accepted in Germany.
The discrepancy between the number of asylum applications and registration is due to the time it takes a refugee to fill out an application after registering upon initial arrival, as well as the backlogs building up at overburdened government ministries.
Importantly for the government, asylum applications from the Balkans averaged nearly 30 percent for the year. However, over the year asylum applications from Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia and Serbia dropped. By December, only 8 percent of asylum applications were from the Balkans as the government made clear economic migrants from so-called "safe countries of origin" have little chance of being accepted.
In total, around 283,000 asylum decisions were made compared to 2014, when only some 129,000 decisions were made.
In 2015, around 91,500 asylum applications were denied, while 137,000 people were recognized as refugees under the Geneva Conventions. The remainder falls into other categories.
cw/msh (AP, AFP, dpa)