The number of refugees and asylum seekers in Germany has decreased for the first time in almost a decade. About 1.77 million persons in total were registered as seeking international protection in Germany in 2020 according to the interior ministry.
By June 2020, there were around 1.77 million people registered as seeking international protetion in Germany. That's about 620,000 less than at the end of 2019, when the total stood at roughly 1.83 million. The numbers were revealed in response to a parliamentary inquiry submitted by the Left Party (Die Linke).
In detail, the answer to the parliamentary inquiry highlighted that about 1.31 million of the 1.77 protection seekers presently in the country had some kind of legal protection granted which resulted in them having leave to remain in the country -- such as refugee protection, asylum status or subsidiary protection. This marked a drop of about 50,000 people from 2019.
The remaining 450,000 of the 1.77 million people highlighted in the report as currently living in Germany did, however, not enjoy full leave to remain in the country. Rather, they were either still in the midst of their asylum process pending decision or were in Germany as part of a so-called "Duldung," which effectively is a ban on deportation or a temporary suspension of deportation order. Last year, there were 3.3% more people who fell under this category.
Ulla Jelpke, a Left Party member of parliament, declared in response to those numbers that Germany should therefore start to accept more refugees once again. She said that more vulnerable refugees and migrants stuck at squalid camps on the Greek islands should be moved to Germany as a result of the development:
"We've got space. Tens of thousands of people seeking refuge are currently stuck at EU-funded first reception centers," she said.
"Germany can and should use these humanitarian capacities to help relieve countries like Greece or Italy," she added. However, Jelpke did not go into detail about the nature of change in numbers of refugees and migrants in Germany from last year to 2020.
Only a legal issue?
The answer to the parliamentary inquiry also specified that the main reason for the drop in numbers was of a legal nature; while some asylum seekers had lost their protection status or had it been recalled by authorities, others had their protection status expire during that period.
A spokeswoman for the interior ministry stressed that a "considerable amount" of those who no longer had a legal basis to remain in Germany had left the country.