The federal office for migrants and refugees (BAMF) has said that Germany anticipates the arrival of around 300,000 refugees this year. That’s less than 1/3rd of the overall record influx of 2015.
The head of BAMF, Frank-Jürgen Weise, briefed the ‘Bild Am Sonntag’ newspaper that Germany’s improvements and its healthy economy is equipped to handle and harbor new migrant arrivals this year which, can range from 250,000 to 300,000. Weise said, “We can ensure optimal services for up to 300,000. Should more people arrive, it would put us under pressure, then we would go into so-called crisis mode. But even then we would not have conditions like last year”.
Last year, around 1.1 million refugees arrived in Europe’s economic giant, Germany… imposing an immense strain on the country’s bureaucracy to process claims, and simultaneously testing the credibility of the right-left coalition government of Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The shutdown of the Balkan migrant trail and a fresh Turkey-EU deal that does not allow refugees to reach Greece, has propelled migrant arrivals from Afghanistan and the Middle East. Weise’s agency made major leaps in systemizing a large backlog in asylum claims but will be unable to clear the remaining 530,000 cases by the end of this year. Integrating migrants, (that are allowed to stay in Germany) into the labour market would be a costly and a lengthy process.
Nevertheless, the long-term prospects look positive according to Weise. “A lot of what was going badly in the beginning [one year ago] we’ve eventually managed to do pretty well. And the economy in Germany is so good; thank God, that we can afford it” – he said.
However, public sentiment is strongly divided when it comes to Merkel, who hasn’t expressed whether she would contest for a fourth term in the general elections expected next September or October. According to an independent opinion research, 50% of respondents opposed another four-year term for Merkel, but 42% said they wanted her for another term.