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CRIME

Refugees to Germany commit tiny proportion of sex crimes

Refugees and asylum seekers were responsible for less than 4% of the sex crimes committed in Germany last year. The chances of a German being a victim of a sex crime committed by a refugee were tiny, leaked figures show.

Refugees to Germany commit tiny proportion of sex crimes
Women protest against sexual violence in Hamburg. Photo: DPA

Bild newspaper has seen a report from the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) which shows that 1,688 sexual offences were committed by a category of migrant which includes asylum seekers, refugees and illegal immigrants in 2015.

The figures did not include the sexual assaults reported on New Year’s Eve in Cologne and other cities, which are still under investigation. Police have received reports of 433 sexual assaults on that night in Cologne alone.

The total number of this type of crime committed nationwide throughout 2015 was almost 47,000 – meaning 3.6 percent of these crimes were committed by the category of migrants generally referred to as refugees.

Government figures show that at the start of of 2015 there were 629,000 refugees and asylum seekers in the country. By the end of the year this figure had risen to around 1.7 million.

In other words the refugee population of Germany rose from a January level 0.77 percent of the German population – which increased from 81.2 to 82 million through the year – to 2 percent at the end of the year.

Most sex crimes committed by men

When comparing the percentage of refugees in the German population to their representation in sex crime figures, at first glance the statistics don’t look good.

At one extreme, migrants representing 2.0 percent of the total German population would have been responsible for 3.6 percent of sexual crimes – making them more likely to commit a sexual crime than someone outside this category.

At the other extreme, migrants representing 0.77 percent of the total German population would have been responsible for the same 3.6 percent of sex crimes – making the sexual crime rate among migrants even higher.

But it’s not so simple. On top of the number of known refugees is an unknown number of illegal immigrants.

Figures from the federal government in June 2015 showed police had found around 82,000 people living in Germany illegally in 2014. But the actual number is likely much higher. No figures for 2015 are yet available.

Another factor which skews the figures is that sexual offences are overwhelmingly committed by men.

Government figures from 2015 suggest that almost two men are offered asylum for every one woman, and estimates throughout the year put the number of single men arriving in the country at anywhere up to 75 percent of all arrivals.

In other words it is not surprising that a population category predominantly made up of men is over-represented in a crime statistic which is essentially the domain of only one sex.

Police raid a property in the Maghrebi quarter in Düsseldorf. Photo: DPA

A further important footnote is that crime levels vary drastically within the category lumped together as refugees depending on what country they come from.

Police statistics indicate that migrants from North Africa are much more likely to be involved in crime than those from Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan.

Meanwhile a police report released on Wednesday shows people from Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan were increasingly likely to be victims of crime during the course of 2015.

The current state of investigations in Cologne over the New Year sex attacks also shows that the large majority of men under suspicion for those sex crimes come from Algeria and Morocco.

While 57 of the 73 suspects are from those two countries, 7 are from Iraq and Syria and none are from Afghanistan. Three meanwhile are from Germany.

The BKA would not confirm or deny the veracity of Bild’s figures to The Local.

‘Vast majority don’t commit crime’

In general, the publicly available summary of the report shows that criminality did rise throughout 2015, but not at a rate that corresponded to the large number of people arriving in the country.

The report specifically notes that crime rose most sharply in the first six months of the year before tailing off from July onwards – this is despite the fact that the majority of asylum seekers came to Germany after Merkel said “Wir schaffen das” in late August.

“The vast majority of asylum seekers did not commit crimes,” the report concludes.

In two-thirds of crimes against human life which involved an asylum seeker, the victim was of the same nationality as the perpetrator. In 28 cases the victim was killed – with one of the victims being a German national.

According to Bild’s information 240 of this kind of crime – which includes murder and attempted murder – were committed in 2015.

One particularly steep rise in recorded crime was a 50 percent increase in physical violence in refugee housing throughout the year.

SEE ALSO: Refugee women 'abused by camp security guards'

For members

BREXIT

EXPLAINED: How can Brits visit or move to Germany post-Brexit?

Many Brits may be considering spending time in Germany or even moving for work or to study. Here's a look at the rules.

EXPLAINED: How can Brits visit or move to Germany post-Brexit?

The Brexit transition period ended on January 1st 2021, but it’s been a turbulent few years with Covid-related restrictions, which mean many people may not have travelled abroad since then. Here’s what you should know about the rules for travelling and moving to Germany post-Brexit. 

Can I visit Germany from the UK on holiday?

Absolutely. But you do have to stick to certain rules on how long you can stay in Germany (and other EU countries) without a visa.

“British citizens do not require a visa for the Schengen Member States, if the duration of their stay does not exceed 90 days within any 180-day period,” says the German Missions consular service in the UK. 

You can find a full explanation of the 90-day rule from our sister site, The Local France, HERE, along with the Schengen calculator that allows you to work out your allowance.

READ ALSO: Passport scans and €7 fees: What will change for EU travel in 2022 and 2023

Note that if you were living in Germany before January 1st 2021, different rules apply. People in this scenario should have received a residence permit – known as the Aufenthaltstitel-GB – from the German authorities, which proves their right to remain in Germany with the same rights as they had before Brexit. 

READ ALSO: Reader question: How can I re-enter Germany without my post-Brexit residence card?

Can I move to Germany from the UK after the Brexit transition period?

Yes. But if you are coming to Germany to live and work, you will need to apply for the right documents, like other so-called ‘third country nationals’. All foreigners from outside the EU who want to to stay in Germany for more than three months have to get a residence permit (Aufenthaltstitel). 

As we touched on above, citizens from some countries (including the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, Japan, Israel, New Zealand and Switzerland) are allowed entry into Germany without a visa and can apply for a residence permit while in the country. You can contact the Foreigners Office (Ausländerbehörde) in your area to find out how to get a residence permit.

You’ll need various official documents, such as a valid passport, proof of health insurance and proof that you can support yourself. You usually receive your residence permit as a sticker in your passport.

Passengers wait at Hamburg airport.

Passengers at Hamburg airport. Brits coming to Germany have more things to consider after Brexit. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Markus Scholz

Germany has a well-documented skilled worker shortage at the moment so there are work permit options to consider that may suit your circumstances. 

For the work visa for qualified professionals, for instance, your qualifications have to be either recognised in Germany or comparable to those from a German higher education facility. 

You may also be able to get an EU Blue Card. This residence permit is aimed at attracting and enabling highly qualified third-country nationals to live in the EU. 

It comes with benefits, including the right to to request and bring family members to the country, and shortcuts for applying for permanent residency. 

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How German citizenship differs from permanent residency

When applying for a Blue Card in Germany this year, you have to earn a minimum gross salary (before tax) of €56,400 – down from €56,800 in 2021. 

In so-called shortage occupations (Mangelberufe), where there is a high number of unfilled positions, the minimum gross salary is €43,992 – down from €44,304 in 2021.

Shortage occupations include employees in the sectors of mathematics, IT, natural sciences, engineering and medicine.

If you want to come to Germany from the UK to study then you also need to apply for a visa. For this you may need proof of acceptance to the university or higher education institution of your choice and possibly proof of your German language skills.

Check out the useful government website Make it in Germany for more detailed information, as well as the German Missions in the UK site, which has lots of info on travel after Brexit, and on visas.  

What else should I know?

The German government plans to reform the immigration system, although it’s not clear at this stage when this will happen. 

It will move to a points-based system, inspired by countries like Canada, where foreigners will have to score above a certain threshold of points to get a residence or work permit.

This scoring system will be set by the government, but it will include factors like language skills, family connections to the country, specific qualifications or work-related skills, or the amount of money in your bank account.

Keep an eye on The Local’s home page for updates on the changes to immigration laws. 

Have you moved to Germany – or are thinking about moving – after the Brexit transition period and want to share your experiences? Please get in touch by emailing [email protected] 

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