Failed asylum seekers in Germany are voluntarily returning home, but only because the government is paying them.
Magazine Focus says Germany took in 15,300 asylum seekers between January and July, which was nearly 2,000 more than the entirety of 2014 – and that was before the mass influx even gathered pace.
The Federal Government has set aside some €2.14 million to pay for voluntary repatriations, which includes travel subsidies of €200 per person, although this does not include people who have entered Germany without a visa.
The amount each person receives also increases depending on the country they are returning to, with those going to Egypt, Ghana, Lebanon and Eritrea receiving €300, while those going back to Iraq or Afghanistan get up to €700 per person.
The figures come as Germany tightens its asylum laws, allowing for faster deportation and classifying the Balkan nations of Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro as “safe”, thus making it more difficult for people from those countries to claim asylum, and much easier to deport them.
However, in practice it will still take a long time before any new arrivals end up being deported. Once an asylum application has been filed, it can take up to five months to process, Weser Kurier says. Some applicants even have to wait a year before a decision as German bureaucrats struggle to cope with a surge in applications.
Maria-Luisa Leonhardt, a researcher at the Law Faculty of the University of Leipzig, said: “We already informed the interior ministry four or five years ago that too few staff were available to process asylum applications”.
Peter Altmaier, the minister in charge of the government’s asylum policy, said the move was a “signal” to migrants and would-be asylum seekers.
“We want to improve and we want to improve quickly, as early as this year, as regards expelling asylum seekers who do not have the right to remain here,” he said.