More than 4,000 Afghans who have a right to family reunification in Germany are stuck in Afghanistan. According to a media report, visa-processing sites in the region have only processed around 100 applications per month so far this year.
In the first half of this year, Germany issued just 624 family reunification visas to Afghan nationals, according to the newspaper Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung (NOZ).
In a report on Wednesday, September 15, the paper said that 4,173 Afghans are on the waiting list to submit an application for family reunification. Based on the current rate, it would take up to three and a half years before the last visa would be issued.
The figures were provided by Germany's Foreign Ministry in response to an inquiry by Ulla Jelpke, spokesperson on domestic affairs for the socialist Left Party (Die Linke).
"The waiting times for family reunification of Afghan relatives are unacceptable and intolerable for those affected," Jelpke told NOZ, adding that "as a general rule, the relatives have a right to come to Germany."
During the Taliban's swift takeover of Afghanistan, which culminated in the capture of Kabul in mid-August, thousands of people fled the country fearing repression under Taliban rule. After the capture, tens of thousands of Afghans were flown out of the country in hastily organized evacuation missions, but many are left in temporary limbo as governments seek to resettle those seeking protection.
Right to family reunification
The right to family reunification means that a refugee's relatives like a spouse or underage children can join them in Germany, provided the refugee has been granted protection in Germany.
The Left Party is calling on the German government to do everything possible to enable those affected to enter Germany quickly.
"All visa-processing sites in the region must receive visa applications of Afghan relatives without delay," Jelpke said, adding that decisions should be made "quickly and benevolently." The process must be done electronically as far as possible, she said.
The slow processing of applications for family reunification visas affects not only Afghan refugees and their relatives: At the end of March, 2021, a total of almost 11,000 migrants with relatives already granted either refugee or subsidiary protection status in Germany were waiting for appointments to determine the outcome of family reunification visas.