News ID: 275199
Published: 1135 GMT October 06, 2020

Number of refugees living in Germany falls for first time in nine years

Number of refugees living in Germany falls for first time in nine years
Migrants wait behind a barrier at the border between Austria and Germany in Achleiten, Austria.

The number of refugees and asylum-seekers living in Germany has fallen for the first time in nine years, according to newly released government figures.

At the end of June, there were 1.77 million refugees and asylum-seekers were living in Germany — 62,000 fewer than at the end of last year, reported.

They include 1.31 million recognized refugees who have been granted full asylum, and 450,000 asylum-seekers whose cases are being decided or who have been given temporary permission to stay.

Germany saw an influx of more than 1.1 million asylum-seekers in 2015 under Angela Merkel’s controversial “open-door” asylum policy.

After Hungary and a number of other countries began turning migrants away, Merkel announced Germany would take them amid fears of a humanitarian crisis.

Germany’s refugee population had in fact already been rising since 2011, when there were 400,000. It continued to rise in the years following 2015’s influx, albeit at a slower rate.

The fall in numbers this year is mainly down to refugees having their asylum revoked because they chose to return to their homes countries or were no longer in danger, according to the interior ministry. It also includes asylum-seekers whose temporary permission to stay in Germany has expired or been withdrawn.

A "significant number" of those affected have already left Germany, the ministry said.

The new figures emerged in a written answer to a parliamentary question from the opposition Left Party, which responded by accusing Merkel’s government of not doing enough to help refugees.

“We have space, the figures show it. Yet at the same time, tens of thousands of people seeking protection are stuck in inhumane conditions in Europe’s initial reception states,” Ulla Jelpke, a Left Party MP, told Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung newspaper.

“As a rich country in the heart of Europe, Germany must not shirk its responsibility by hiding behind barbed wires and hotspot camps.”

Germany announced last month that it will take in 1,500 refugees from camps in Greece in the wake of the fires which devastated Moria camp on Lesbos.

But opposition parties have dismissed it as a token gesture that does not go far enough.

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