Germany: 222000 asylum-seekers arrived in year's first half

Regensburg Cathedral

The German government says some 222,000 asylum-seekers arrived in the country in the first half of this year.

The reason is the nearly complete closing off of the migrant route through the Balkans and also the EU's deal with Turkey to cut arrivals by sea.

Germany's main digital tallying system, called EASY, is prone to lapses because migrants can easily arrive in Germany but not file asylum applications, and the system can't track people who register twice with different identities in different states or who travel out of the country to other parts of Europe, such as Scandinavia.

About 91,000 refugees entered Germany in January, while the number decreased to about 19,000 in June, according to the minister.

Many refugees used Austria as a transit country to reach Germany, which accepted almost 1.1 million refugees in 2015.

He said, "The implementation of the agreement between the European Union and Turkey is working so far, but I wouldn't guarantee that this will also remain the case in the coming months, and developments on the Balkan route could worsen significantly". If you would like to discuss another topic, look for a relevant article.

The new law gives the authorities the power to assign asylum-seekers a compulsory place of residence for their first three years in the country, in a measure created to prevent the ghettoisation of major cities.

Germany took in more than one million migrants previous year, mainly people fleeing conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

More than 1 million migrants used the Balkan route to cross to Western Europe before it officially closed in March.

The numbers arriving via the central Mediterranean route from Libya to Italy have remained at roughly the same levels as 2015. He added that there are increasing-though still small-numbers arriving from Italy via Switzerland, and an increase in asylum-seekers from Russia's Chechnya region.

Between January and June, it processed 283,236 applications - as many as the whole of past year, de Maiziere said.

Still, refugee office chief Frank-Juergen Weise said it now has 500,000 unprocessed applications, up from 370,000 at the beginning of the year.

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