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An official of Germany’s federal refugee agency (BAMF) hands an ID card to an asylum-seeker: The success of an asylum application depends largely for some nationals in the state in which the claim is made, / Photo: BAMF

Germany: Asylum-seekers’ chances vary from state to state

Success rates for asylum applications in Germany vary widely from state to state, according to a new report by Funke Mediengruppe. But the varying rates raise questions over how Germany processes asylum requests.

Iraqis much more likely to get asylum in Bremen than in Berlin, official figures show. For example, the protection rate for Iraqi refugees in Bremen during the first six months of 2017 was more than 96 per cent. In Berlin, meanwhile, only around 50 per cent of Iraqis were granted asylum or refugee status in the same period.

For Afghan nationals, the protection rate ranged from 31 per cent in Brandenburg to 65 per cent in Bremen. For asylum seekers from Iran the rate ranged from 38 per cent (Bavaria) to 85 per cent (Bremen).

In contrast, the protection rates for Syrian asylum seekers in all of Germany’s states was found to be over 99 percent.

The figures were published by the federal government in response to an inquiry from Ulla Jelpke, a lawmaker for the left-wing Die Linke party.

Recognition rates describe the proportion of people who have received recognized refugee status in Germany and are allowed to remain in the country. Procedures decided on formal grounds, for instance when another EU country is found to be responsible for deciding on an asylum seeker’s application, were not taken into account in the recognition rates.

But what could account for the imbalance across the country?

“There is no denying that there are very different ratios in the federal states without plausible explanations for this being apparent,” said Jelpke. 

It isn’t acceptable that Afghan refugees in Brandenburg or Bavaria, for example, have only about half the chances of obtaining protection status as they do in Bremen, she added.

Jelpke claimed to have heard there was a particularly negative decision-making practice in Bavaria with regard to Afghan refugees.

“It would be a worrying finding if the particularly negative political mood in Bavaria were to have a negative impact on the outcome of the asylum procedures for Afghan and other refugees,” Jelpke said, adding that the reasons why asylum approval rates differed so greatly from state to state deserved further investigation.

Felix Dappah with agency reports

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