The German Federal Office for Migration and Asylum (BAMF) will re-examine some 18,000 cases in which refugees were granted asylum in Germany, the agency’s director, Jutta Cordt, has announced.
The inspection will cover all successful asylum applications filed as far back as 2000, she added while addressing a press conference on Friday.
The measure will be applied to all asylum cases processed by a BAMF regional office in the city of Bremen. It follows a corruption scandal that involved the former regional office head as well as five other local employees, including three lawyers and an interpreter.
In April, the German daily newspaper Suedeutsche Zeitung as well as the broadcasters NDR and Radio Bremen revealed that the former Bremen migration office head granted asylum to people in some 1,200-2,000 cases between 2013 and 2016 allegedly after having taken bribes.
The former Bremen office head, whose identity has not been made public, was eventually charged with bribery and organization of fraudulent asylum application processing.
Several more regional branches of BAMF are being subjected to checks regarding their approval of asylum applications, a German newspaper reported on Sunday.
The Bild am Sonntag said 13 branches were being probed in addition to the ongoing investigation in Bremen.
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Meanwhile, it has also been revealed that less than 1 percent of all asylum applications approved by local and regional migration offices have been properly reviewed by the federal migration office. Out of some 1.65 million asylum applications approved between January 2015 and March 2018, only 11,830 were examined by the BAMF, the German daily Bild reports, citing the Interior Ministry’s answer to a requested filed by an MP.
Germany’s migration authorities came under intense pressure with the influx of around a million refugees into Germany in 2015 and still have a large backlog of asylum applications awaiting decisions.
Sola Jolaoso with agency reports