Exclusive Exclusive: Asylum Chief Says Refugees Need More Support

Frank-Jürgen Wiese, the head of Germany’s refugee agency BAMF, welcomes the government’s new integration plan but said more is needed. “I can see how difficult it is for the different parties to reach an agreement – and also in a federal system, so what’s been achieved is good progress,” said Mr. Weise in an interview with Handelsblatt. He welcomed the fact that integration is now recognized as important but he said much more was needed to help asylum-seekers, especially in closing the shortfall between the number of people needing language courses and those available. He also suggested changes to help those doing training courses. “What I’m hearing from vocational colleges is that the main difficulty for Arabic-speaking refugees is the writing. Why don’t we let people do training courses and then complete the written element later, within a certain time limit,” said Mr. Weise, who heads both the labor and asylum agencies. However, business associations warned against easing standards in the midst of the refugee situation. Mr. Weise said the government’s proposal concerning accommodation for refugees who had been accepted should be implemented “as soon as work is within reach.” He said it was thanks to his agency’s activities that the current debate could take place. “The new arrival ID papers which we developed in the past few months have made this possible.” The refugee agency is struggling to process applications for asylum after more than 1.1 million refugees came to Germany last year and has been criticized for lengthy delays. Read the full story in Monday’s Handelsblatt Global Edition at 12:00 CET. Picture source: Picture alliance, DPA