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German refugee office falling behind in processing asylum requests

Germany's Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) is failing to meet targets set for processing asylum requests. Workers are expected to get through on average 30 percent more requests per day.

Employees at Germany's Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) are failing to meet set targets for the number of asylum requests that must be processed per day.

Workers managed to process an average of  just 2.5 asylum requests per day during the first week of July, well below the 3.5 target set by the office, according to German media reports on Saturday.

Read more: Study: Asylum seekers' chances of staying in Germany vary dramatically by state

Only three out of 66 BAMF branches across Germany managed to meet the target - Neumünster-Boostedt, Mönchengladbach and Bonn - according to internal documents seen by the "Neuen Osnabrücker" newspaper.

In total, around 13,000 requests were processed during the first week of July.

Targets: more harm than good?

Critics of the targets have long complained that they impose too much pressure and affect decision-making among BAMF employees. Even the office's staff council had complained that the job requirements risked "encouraging a superficial working method."

"The figures show that the politically motivated targets are not achievable," said Ulla Jelpke, the opposition Left Party's interior affairs spokesman. "That is why they have to be scrapped."

Excessive volumes prevent requests from being processed fairly, Jelpke added, as exemplified by the high number of rejected Afghan asylum seekers.

Earlier this year, it emerged that asylum applicants had to wait 7.1 months on average to find out whether their request would be granted, while some 59,000 people had to wait for more than a year.

Read more: Soldier-refugee audit means longer waits in asylum process

It was also revealed that he BAMF was dealing with a backlog of almost 500,000 unprocessed requests. While the number of people who entered Germany seeking refuge in 2016 was markedly lower than the year before, many people who arrived during the 2015 migrant crisis only made their applications the following year.

In May, following the case of Franco A., a German military officer who managed to register as a Syrian refugee with alleged plans to carry out a terror attack, BAMF acknowledged its shortcomings in its decision-making and vowed to reform.

dm/tj (AFP, KNA, epd)

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