Hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees′ relatives expected in Germany | News | DW | 08.06.2016

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Hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees' relatives expected in Germany

Germany can expect roughly 500,000 dependents of Syrians who have applied for asylum to arrive in the country, according to a government estimate. That number is significantly less than other forecasts.

Every Syrian who receives asylum in Germany will eventually bring one dependent, according averages calculated by migration experts in Berlin.

Citing an expert brief from the Federal Office of Migration and Refugees (BAMF), the daily "Süddeutsche Zeitung" reported that some 500,000 spouses, children and parents of unaccompanied minors may join Syrians who have already arrived in Germany.

Last year nearly 428,000 Syrians arrived in Germany, while another 72,000 have arrived so far this year.

The BAMF estimates fall significantly below other forecasts, some of which predicted every Syrian would eventually bring three to four family members to Germany.

The arrival of family members, however, is likely to be a drawn out affair. An asylum law that went into effect earlier this year prevents those who have received asylum in Germany from bringing family members for a two-year period.

Meanwhile, there is a significant backlog of asylum applications at German diplomatic missions in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, which together have taken in nearly 5 million refugees from Syria. Relatives of Syrians already in Germany often have to wait months for a decision at German foreign missions.

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Adding to what is likely to be a long delay for Syrian relatives wanting to join family in Germany is the backlog of applications for those already in Germany and seeking asylum.

There are still 460,000 asylum requests that still need to be processed, according to BAMF figures. And new asylum applications keep rolling in. In May alone 55,000 people, about 40 percent from Syria, applied for asylum. There are also an estimated 300,000 people in the country who have not yet filed for asylum.

Not all those asylum requests are from Syrians. They include a large portion of Afghans and Iraqis, as well as other people from Asia and Africa, not all of whom will receive asylum in Germany.

Frank-Jürgen Weise, the head of BAMF, said on Wednesday he would like to process all backlogged asylum applications by the end of the year.

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