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Germany picks up the tempo on asylum

State and federal authorities in Germany are set to put new migration laws into practice a week earlier than planned. The new laws curb services to rejected migrants and speed up the process for granting asylum.

Germany's newly tightened asylum laws will go into effect nearly a week early, German media reported on Friday. Originally set to begin on November 1, the legislation will be put into practice on Saturday.

Approved by both houses of German parliament last week, the laws are meant to significantly speed up the process of sending migrants whose asylum applications have been rejected back to their countries of origin. Federal and state authorities are already working in tandem to create a comprehensive list of rejected applicants and the process of repatriation should begin next week.

Other provisions in the new rules call for tightening regulations around who is and who isn't eligible for asylum, and cutting costs on services for those who have not been granted the right to stay in Germany. On the other side, programs and services that assist in the integration of newly-arrived refugees with good prospects of being allowed to stay are set to be increased.

Rejected migrants leave willingly

According to German daily Die Welt, the majority of rejected asylum seekers leave voluntarily through a government program that helps them get back to their homeland. Die Welt reported that between January and September of this year, some 22,400 migrants made use of the program. At the same time, around 11,500 people had to be forcibly deported.

A number of rejected migrants simply leave the country on their own steam, making it difficult to gather statistics.

The German government has been under pressure to accelerate the asylum process as, due to the unprecedented numbers, some refugees have been forced to stay for months in makeshift camps not meant as permanent living quarters.

es/rc (AFP, dpa)

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