The number of people seeking asylum in Germany has increased with the easing of COVID-19 restrictions. Last month there were more than twice as many applicants as in the same period in 2020.
German authorities said this week that there were 8,278 new applications for asylum in May, with 950 follow-up applications. A year earlier, according to statistics published by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), the number of initial applications was significantly lower, at 3,777 applications. The rise is attributed to the lifting of restrictions which were in place during the first wave of the pandemic in 2020.
According to BAMF, the largest group of applicants this May were Syrians with 3,776 applications, while 1,594 applicants came from Afghanistan and 651 from Iraq. In 2020, 102,581 foreigners applied for asylum in Germany for the first time. Among them were 26,520 applications for children under the age of one who were born in Germany.
Tunisians largest group
Figures from the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, show that the largest groups of undocumented migrants arriving in Italy and Spain in the first four months of this year were from Tunisia, Ivory Coast, Bangladesh, Algeria and Morocco, the news agency dpa reports.
Mathias Middelberg, from Germany’s Christian Democratic Party, said that in many cases people were crossing the Mediterranean for economic reasons. "[This] is no longer about flight ... There are strong indications that the number of asylum applications will continue to rise."
Middelberg added that while new Danish legislation aimed at processing asylum claims outside Europe’s borders was unlikely to be enforceable, it showed that EU member states were unwilling to accept more migrants. The European Commission has slammed Denmark’s proposed law and says it reserves the right to take legal action should the country implement the plans.