Exclusive Official: Germany Has Over 600,000 Backlog in Asylum Applications

German authorities are battling a massive backlog in processing refugees that streamed into Europe’s largest economy over the course of last year, the head of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees said Friday. More than 600,000 asylum applications from 2015 have not yet been processed, Frank-Jürgen Weise told politicians during a party convention of the conservative Bavarian CSU in Wildbad Kreuth, Bavaria. “We have 360,000 applications that have not been processed yet. We assume that some people have registered but not filed their application yet, probably another 300,000,” he said. Germany took in 1.1 million asylum seekers in 2015, according to the interior ministry. Asylum seekers from war-torn countries such as Syria and Iraq have good chances of being allowed to stay, but have to file their paperwork and wait for it to be processed before they can get longer-term housing and job opportunities. Mr. Weise took charge of the refugee office last year after his predecessor was ousted over a public outcry over the authority’s alleged inefficiency. The public debate about how many refugees Germany should take in, and how to integrate those who stay, has been reignited after massive assaults on women in Cologne and other European cities on New Year’s Eve. Many of the assailants are now said to have been refugees, prompting politicians to call for easier ways to deport criminal asylum seekers . Photo Source: DPA / Peter Kneffel