AIDA Update Germany: lower rights for asylum seekers from “safe countries of origin”, Dublin for all

The updated AIDA report on Germany documents the content and effect of several legislative reforms taking recently against the backdrop of a record number of approximately 758,000 arrivals in the first ten months of the year, according to provisional statistics.

As amended in October 2015, the list of “safe countries of origin” includes Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro; while Albania and Kosovo have been among the top 3 nationalities of asylum seekers so far in 2015. However, even as of September 2015 the Federal State of Bavaria had set up two “combined reception and return centres for asylum seekers without prospect to remain”. Under the new rules, asylum seekers from safe countries of origin are required to stay in initial reception centres for the whole duration of their asylum procedures. Access to employment is also excluded for applicants residing in those centres. However, the requirement to reside in initial reception centres throughout the entire procedure is likely to be problematic in practice, in view of the state’s obligation to allow asylum seekers to leave initial reception centres if a decision on their claim cannot be taken within a short time-frame, according to Informationsverbund Asyl und Migration.

As of 21 October 2015, the policy of suspending Dublin procedures for Syrian nationals “to the greatest extent possible”, announced in late August, came to an end. The rules of the Dublin Regulation have therefore been reinstated in respect of Syrians coming to Germany.

Moreover, a new dispersal system has been set up for the distribution of unaccompanied children across the 16 federal states.

Finally, following an amendment of the Residence Act entering into force in August 2015, the grounds for detention of persons subject to the Dublin III Regulation have been defined. The law also sets out a number of wide-ranging criteria used to determine the existence of a “risk of absconding” as a ground for such detention. Nevertheless, detention of foreigners for the purpose of deportation (including Dublin cases) has generally remained low in 2015 as in 2014. As of October 2015, approximately 90 persons were in detention pending deportation, including 50 in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

About AIDA

The Asylum Information Database (AIDA) is a database containing information on asylum procedures, reception conditions and detention across 20 countries.