13:48, 30 March 2017
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Refugee arrivals drop by a third in Germany

 

 

 

Germany has seen an immense drop in the arrival of asylum seekers, with the total number in 2016

down to less than a third of the 890,000 who arrived in 2015, according to the interior minister. Thomas de Maiziere said on Wednesday that about 280,000 new asylum seekers arrived in 2016, while an estimated 80,000 people either left voluntarily or were deported. The minister said authorities hoped the number of those who leave or are deported will increase. Arrivals declined sharply with the closure of the Balkan refugee route in March and the subsequent agreement between the European Union and Turkey to stem the flow across the Aegean Sea to Greece. Asylum applications have lagged well behind arrivals and many people who came to Germany in 2015 applied only last year. Wednesday's figures showed that 745,545 formal asylum applications were made last year - 268,869 more than in 2015. Those included 268,866 applications from Syrians, 127,892 from Afghans and 97,162 from Iraqis, the biggest single groups by far. The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, which has been beefed up in the course of Europe's refugee crisis, decided last year on more than 695,000 asylum applications, more than twice as many as in 2015. Nearly 60 percent of applicants were granted either full refugee status or a lesser form of protection.