Germany remains the top destination for asylum seekers in Europe | News | DW

Germany remains the number one destination for people seeking protection in Europe, with the number of asylum applications lodged in the country already exceeding 100,000 in 2021.

The German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) said that by the end of September it had received 100,278 initial applications from asylum seekers.

This is 35.2% more than the same period last year.

Most of the asylum seekers who requested protection for the first time came from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq. Of these, 40,472 initial requests came from people from Syria (up 57.1%) and 8,531 from people seeking protection from Iraq (up 22.2%).

The number of Afghan applicants has risen sharply, with BAMF registering a total of 15,045 initial applications (up 138%) at the end of September.

Concerns grow on the road to Belarus

Besides the traditional routes through Greece, Italy and Spain, Belarus has in recent months become a major migration route following a dispute between Brussels and Minsk.

The countries of the European Union have accused Belarusian strongman Alexander Lukashenko of deliberately encouraging migrants from crisis regions, who are then taken to the borders with Poland, Latvia or Lithuania and illegally pushed into the territory of the European Union. ‘EU.

Lukashenko reportedly retaliated against sanctions imposed by Brussels in response to the regime’s violent crackdown on a pro-democracy movement.

german newspaper Welt am Sonntag cited sources within EU intelligence agency Europol as saying Belarus is now helping Syrian nationals travel directly to Minsk from Damascus.

Previously, the country assisted Syrian migrants who fled the country’s internal conflict to Turkey.

Belarus now also issues 90-day tourist visas to Pakistani, Egyptian and Jordanian nationals, the newspaper said.

More than 4,900 people have been arrested at the German-Polish border who entered the EU illegally via Belarus, German federal police said this week.

A new coalition could reform asylum policy

The increased route for Belarusian migrants comes as Germany remains in limbo after last month’s elections.

The Social Democratic Party (SPD), which won the largest share of the vote, is seeking to form a coalition with the climate-focused Green Party and the business-oriented Free Democratic Party.

If the alliance is struck, the new government could reform refugee policy, making it easier for failed asylum seekers to continue to acquire German citizenship rights through years of hard work.

The main political opponents of the three parties, the conservative bloc of outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel, have criticized the plan, saying it amounts to giving up migration control.

Other parties, like the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), have demanded a tougher approach to immigration.

In August, Federal Labor Agency chairman Detlef Scheele said Germany needed 400,000 immigrants a year to help the economy grow and replace retired workers.

During the European migration crisis from 2015 to 2017, Germany processed more than 1.4 million asylum applications, according to data from the EU statistical agency, Eurostat.

With material from the KNA press agency

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