Frank-Jürgen Weise will take the reins of Germany's migration office. Weise, who also leads the country's employment agency and will carry out both jobs at once, is replacing Manfred Schmidt, who resigned this week.
Germany's Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere announced Frank-Jürgen Weise's appointment as the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) on Friday, on top of his work at the Federal Employment Agency.
The appointment was finalized around a week ago after the Chancellery met with Weise and Manfred Schmidt, the former head of BAMF who resigned on Thursday citing personal reasons.
Weise would also lead a joint working group involving both the country's employment and migration agencies, which would look into speedy processing of asylum applications, Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert said in a statement.
The new task force would develop ideas to accelerate the process through which refugees applied for asylum and would be assisted by personnel from the employment agency and the migration office. Seibert said the two federal authorities were already working closely with one another.
Weise is best known for the "Hartz-IV" reforms which included better support for the unemployed
Both the Bundestag and the upper house of the German parliament, the Bundesrat, had agreed to the working group and Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere would present a report by its members in a refugee summit of German states with Berlin next week, the ministry said in a statement.
BAMF under fire
The BAMF has been attracting criticism because of delays in processing asylum applications, especially as thousands of migrants were making their way to Germany in the last weeks. European figures released on Friday showed that Germany had the highest number of unprocessed asylum applications - both in gross terms and as a percentage of the total - of any EU member.
The federal government and the states had also raised concerns about the migration office's handling of the current refugee crisis.
The organization was also blamed for posting a tweet in August, which could have led to the increased influx of migrants into Germany. At the time, BAMF had decided that "in practice," it would not send back Syrian refugees who wanted to come to Germany but had been registered under the Dublin asylum regulations.
The Dublin rules state that refugees must be sent back to their first point of entry in the EU.
Many migrants thought this meant they could seek refuge in Berlin without any fear of being deported, leading to a massive movement of people from across Eastern Europe towards German territory.
mg/msh (Reuters, dpa, epd)