The number of people who applied for asylum in Germany last year, 2023, rose to 351,915, an increase of 51.1% compared to the previous year, despite the strict measures taken by the Berlin government recently to stop the flow of refugees.
The German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees said on Monday, January 9, that the largest number of asylum seekers came from Syria, with 104,561 applications, followed by Turkey with 62,624 asylum applications and 53,582 from Afghanistan.
Immigration has become a major political problem for the government and a hot topic in Germany as local communities struggle to accommodate the many new arrivals.
“Too many are coming,” said German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who is facing enormous pressure from the opposition and elsewhere to halt the trend.
Late last year, Scholz and the 16 state governors agreed on new and tougher measures to limit the large number of immigrants flowing into the country, and reached a compromise that included speeding up asylum procedures, restrictions on benefits provided to asylum seekers and more financial aid from the federal government to states and local communities dealing with the influx of refugees.
In the fall, Germany imposed temporary border controls on its borders with Poland, the Czech Republic and Switzerland, and has been conducting similar systematic checks on its border with Austria since 2015.
In another measure to limit the number of migrants in the country, the government is also trying to facilitate deportations of inadmissible asylum seekers and tighten punishment for migrant smuggling.
Last year’s numbers are still far lower than those of 2015-2016, when more than a million migrants arrived in Germany, most of them from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.
However, Minister of Interior Nancy Faser said that “2023 asylum figures show that we must consistently follow our path to reduce illegal immigration.”
She added: “We protect people from war and terrorism, and on the other hand, those who do not need protection must also leave our country.”
It is noteworthy that the number of people who applied for asylum in Germany in 2022 rose more than at any time since 2016. The annual statistics for 2022 published by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees show that from the beginning of January until the end of December, 217,774 people sought protection in Germany for the first time.
This represents an increase of more than 47 percent compared to the previous year (2021), in which 145,233 asylum applications were submitted.
Most of those who requested protection last year came from Syria (70,976), Afghanistan (36,358), Turkey (23,938), Iraq and Georgia. According to the information, 24,791 of these initial applications concern children born in Germany under the age of one year.
It is noteworthy that Germany has received more than a million Ukrainians since the beginning of the Russian aggression against Kiev almost two years ago, and they did not have to apply for asylum, as they received immediate temporary protection on the basis of a directive from the European Union.