Berlin In order to relieve the asylum system in Germany, the North Rhine-Westphalian refugee minister Josefine Paul (Greens) has spoken out in favor of creating more legal migration routes. “In view of the shortage of skilled workers, we need a modern immigration policy with better opportunities for people from other countries to come to us legally,” Paul told the Handelsblatt. “That also relieves the asylum system, because the right to asylum is not the legally appropriate way of access for everyone.”
At the same time, however, the potential of those who are already in Germany must be better used, said the Greens politician. “A quicker opportunity to participate in society opens up prospects for people here and at the same time increases potential for urgently needed specialists and workers.”
The minister is critical of demands from the Union to noticeably curb the influx of migrants to Germany. NRW stands “without ifs and buts” by its humanitarian obligation to give refugees protection and support, said Paul.
The domestic policy spokesman for the Union faction in the Bundestag, Alexander Throm (CDU), had set the goal in the “Bild” newspaper with a view to refugee immigration to achieve well below 200,000 asylum applications per year through restrictions. Last year, almost 218,000 applications were made nationwide – more than since 2016.
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The Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann (CSU) told the same newspaper that Germany was taking in an above-average number of refugees compared to other European countries. However, the capacity is “not unlimited”. “We don’t have any number of accommodations, and our society’s ability to integrate must not be overwhelmed either.”
Most asylum seekers come from Syria
According to figures from the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (Bamf), 217,774 people in Germany applied for asylum last year – 47 percent more than in the previous year. Most came from Syria (70,976), Afghanistan (36,358), Turkey (23,938), Iraq and Georgia. In addition, one million war refugees from Ukraine were admitted without having to apply for asylum.
>> Read also: 84.3 million inhabitants – Germany reaches population peak
The chairman of the CSU parliamentary group in Bavaria, Thomas Kreuzer, told the “Bild”: “200,000 is a limit that we mentioned years ago. Our experience shows that we are not able to integrate more people in Germany every year in the long term. It definitely has to be fewer, since we are currently accommodating, supporting and integrating all the war refugees from Ukraine, and rightly so.”
According to their own statements, the districts have long since reached their limit when it comes to housing refugees. “The number of people housed in emergency shelters, in tents or gymnasiums continues to rise,” said the President of the District Council, Reinhard Sager, on Wednesday. The federal government must therefore limit the influx.
Saxony’s CDU parliamentary group leader Christian Hartmann said: “It is not possible to permanently take in 200,000 people every year.” Instead of concrete upper limits, one should rather “talk about a consistent implementation of the deportation of those who are obliged to leave the country. Federal Interior Minister Faeser has a duty here.”
With agency material
More: Draft law presented: Federal government hopes for 50,000 additional workers from abroad per year.