The German interior ministry says that around half of adults who came to Germany seeking asylum in 2020 failed to present documents to prove their name, nationality, or birth date.
In 2020, more than one in two asylum applicants in Germany aged 18 and over was unable to produce identification papers, according to Germany’s interior ministry. The exact figure was 51.8%, the ministry told the Free Democrats (FDP) politician, Linda Teuteberg, in a document seen by the German press agency.
“The fact that the identity of every other first-time asylum applicant cannot be established from the relevant documents presents a major challenge for our asylum system,” Teuteberg said.
Last year, 102,581 foreign nationals submitted an application for asylum in Germany (excluding second-time applications). That number included 26,520 applications for children born in Germany and under the age of one. The number of applications was substantially lower than the previous year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Unknown Number of False Documents
In response to a question about how many people had applied for asylum with forged documents, the government said that the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) had checked the authenticity of a total of 190,608 identification papers from asylum seekers during 2020.
It said that the BAMF had rejected 4,488 documents. However the ministry pointed out that a single applicant may submit several documents, so it was not possible to conclude from the number how many people had presented false documents.
Drop in Asylum Requests in 2020
The number of asylum applications in Germany continues to decrease. According to the German interior ministry, there were over 30% fewer applications last year than 2019.
The number of people seeking asylum in Germany dropped significantly in 2020 — by more than 30% percent compared with the previous year, the federal interior ministry announced Sunday (January 10). The ministry recorded just over 76,000 first-time asylum applications last year, 31.5% fewer than in 2019. Most of the requests came from nationals from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Turkey.
The ministry said that a further 26,520 asylum applications were made for children under the age of one who were born in Germany to non-nationals. This brings the total number of applications to 102,581.
Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said the drop in asylum seekers could partly be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic, which sharply reduced international travel and caused some countries to close their borders, especially during the first wave of cases in the spring.
Frontex, the EU border and coast guard agency, also largely attributed the lowest number of irregular migrant crossings since 2013 to restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
But Seehofer, a CSU member of Chancellor Merkel’s ruling sister parties (CDU/CSU), also pointed out that the number of asylum seekers in Germany has been falling steadily over the past four years, which he said “showed that our measures to steer migration are working.”
However, migrants rights group Pro Asyl said on Twitter on Monday (January 11) that the lower number of asylum requests was a result of the EU’s “rigorous border policy.”