As of August, refugees in Germany with subsidiary protection can apply for family reunification. The German government fixed a maximum contingent of 1000 people per month who may come to the country. But only a small fraction of applications has been approved.
In August, there were 34,000 requests for family reunification – but only 65 positive decisions have been made so far, as figures from the Federal Foreign Ministry show. The epd press service further reported that only 42 visas have been handed out to eligible family members.
The office that registers the applications is called the Bundesverwaltungsamt. This office was put in charge of selecting eligible candidates based on different criteria. Just 1000 family members are allowed to come to Germany per month according to the new regulation that took effect August 1. German diplomatic representations abroad as well as the Foreigner’s Registration Offices in Germany are also involved in the process.
Only 65 positive decisions
By the end of July, German embassies and consulates abroad had received 34,000 requests of people wishing to reunite with refugee family members in Germany. Most of the requests were made by Syrians.
Refugees with subsidiary protection do not have full refugee protection in Germany but only receive a residence permit for one year instead of three years. Their right to family reunification was temporarily halted in early 2016. The largest group of refugees given subsidiary protection during the refugee influx were from Syria.
According to the Federal Foreign Office, there were several reasons for why the process was stalling. In some cases, making actual contact with applicants was difficult because their original contact information was no longer valid. The processing also takes a long time: So far, less than 10 percent of all requests that were sent by consulates and embassies to the Foreigner's Registration Offices in Germany had been answered.
Eligible for family reunification are only immediate family members such as spouses, underage children or parents seeking to reunite with underage children in Germany.