For three years, Manfred Schmidt has been head of the BAMF, the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, in Nuremberg. In 2013, the BAMF is celebrating the 60th anniversary of its founding.
For Talking Germany, it's the perfect occasion to talk to its president about problems and successes in Germany's asylum and refugee policies. On a personal level, 54-year-old Schmidt is enthusiastic about photography, another topic on the show.
Manfred Schmidt moved his main residence from Berlin to Nuremberg when he took over as head of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees. More than 2000 employees throughout the country work for the BAMF. They help immigrants and asylum seekers as they start their new lives in Germany. Since 2005 the focus has been on promoting the integration of immigrants into German society. A lawyer, Manfred Schmidt was born in Frankfurt in 1959 and began his career as a civil servant in 1990 at the Federal Interior Ministry, first in Bonn, then in Berlin. Since he’s been president of the BAMF in Nuremberg, he and his wife have led a commuter’s life, because she still works in the German capital, where their grown-up children also live. Manfred Schmidt wants Germany to be an open society where immigrants are welcome. Only then, in his opinion, can the country solve the demographic problems that it will face in the coming decades. At 54, he pursues his hobby, photography, ambitiously, even though he has little time for it in his current position.