For refugees with subsidiary protection in Germany, the number of family reunification applications processed in 2018 was considerably lower than the goal set by the government. The foreign ministry is currently assessing whether it can roll over the leftover contingent of 1,740 cases into 2019.
For over two years, refugees with subsidiary protection could not apply for their family members to join them in Germany. But starting August 2018, Germany has stopped its freeze on family reunifications for refugees with this status. The number of applications to be granted, however, has been limited to
1,000 per month.
The Federal Foreign Office now revealed that over the five-month period from August to December 2018, it only managed to grant reunifications in 3,260 cases. Visas for travel to Germany have been issued to 2,612 people so far (out of the 3,260 cases).
According to the government, there are nearly 30,000 cases presently waiting to be processed. Roughly 20,000 of these applications were filed by Syrian refugees. These numbers only include family reunion applications from people with subsidiary protection; they do not include applications from people who qualified for full protection on the basis of the UN Refugee Convention or on the basis of Germany's Basic Law.
Government assessing options
Whether or not the leftover contingent of 1,740 cases will be rolled over into the new year is not clear at this point. A spokesperson for the Federal Foreign Office told the AFP news agency: "The Federal Foreign Office is looking into the question of transferring the remaining contingent of 1,740 cases into the current year. The government is presently engaged in talks to this end, which are still ongoing."
However, the Federal Ministry of the Interior told news agency KNA that no legal changes were planned to allow for such leftover contingents to be rolled over.
A spokesperson for the foreign ministry added that the target numbers were actually met in November and December 2018: "We succeeded in speeding up the processing so that the intended number of 1,000 cases per month could indeed be processed in the last two months (of 2018)."