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German agency calls for all refugees to be fingerprinted to fight fraud

Germany's migration agency has urged regional authorities to fingerprint all refugees. The measure seeks to rule out the use of multiple identities and prevent possible benefit fraud.

Germany's Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) said on Tuesday that it is now pushing for all refugees currently living in Germany to be fingerprinted in order to combat so-called "cheat-identities."

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Jutta Cordt, who recently took over leadership of the BAMF, told the "Passauer Neue Presse" that it's now the responsibility of Germany's regional immigration offices to fingerprint refugees.

"They have to take the fingerprints of all people who register with them and compare the data with the central register," Cordt told the paper.

Since last autumn, the BAMF itself has been cross checking fingerprints with security authorities and was able to "now rule out multiple identities in the asylum procedure."

BAMF is also currently dealing with a backlog of some 430,000 unprocessed applications for asylum.

Yesterday, a 25-year-old asylum-seeker in Hannover was handed 21 month suspended sentence including 200 hours of community service for fraud, German public broadcaster NDR reported.

He admitted to having registered in several cities across Germany under seven different names in order to obtain social benefits.

Earlier in January, the northern German city of Braunschweig opened a special commission to investigate over 300 cases of welfare fraud committed by asylum-seekers.

The total fraud is estimated to have cost taxpayers 3 to 5 million euros ($3.2 to $5.3 million) in the state of Lower Saxony.

rs/rt (AFP, KANN, NDR)

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