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Case-by-case reviews again for refugees

December 31, 2015

From 2016, Germany will reintroduce individual assessments for refugees seeking asylum. Syrians, Iraqis and Eritreans had been subject to a simpler procedure in recent months.

Deutschland Flüchtlinge Asylantrag Berlin
Image: Reuters/S. Loos

From the beginning of the new year, all refugees to Germany, including Syrians, Iraqis and Eritreans, will again have their asylum applications reviewed on a case-by-case basis, migration officials said on Thursday, confirming a report in the German "Bild" newspaper.

Procedures had been simplified for refugees from Syria and Iraq in November 2014, and from Eritrea in mid-2015, meaning that asylum-seekers from these countries had only to fill out a questionnaire detailing the reasons why they had fled their homelands. With the case-by-case system that is to be reintroduced, they will now face a comprehensive personal hearing.

A spokesman for the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) told the EPD news agency that the decision to bring back individual reviews had been taken at a conference of German interior ministers in December.

Security in jeopardy?

Politicians from various German parties had voiced criticism of the previous system, saying that it possibly endangered security in the country. The debate was recently fueled by reports that the radical Islamist group "Islamic State" was sending its fighters to Europe using fake Syrian passports.

The report in Thursday's high-circulation "Bild" newspaper cited migration experts as saying that the reintroduction of case-by-case reviews would lead to even slower processing of asylum applications.

German migration authorities already have a backlog of some 360,000 applications, leading to widespread criticism and calls for more personnel to be employed.

tj/jil (epd, Reuters)