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Asylum applications in May up 100 percent on last year

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Asylum applications in May up 100 percent on last year
Refugees at a centre for asylum seekers in Baden-Württemberg. Photo: DPA.
13:02 CEST+02:00
The number of people who applied for asylum in Germany this May rose by 100 percent over the same month last year, according to government figures.

More than 55,000 people applied for asylum in Germany in May alone - a nearly 113 percent rise on May 2015, according to a report on Tuesday by the German Interior Ministry.

Roughly 26,000 people applied in May last year, or less than half the number of those who applied this year.

Still, fewer people applied this May than in the previous month of April, with a decrease of 9.3 percent.

The figures released by the interior ministry do not refer to the number of new arrivals, but rather people who have just now applied for asylum and could have been waiting at camps for some time to submit their forms given the overwhelming numbers seeking protection status.

The data used to estimate the number of brand new arrivals comes from the EASY registration system, which may include repeat counts, the interior ministry acknowledges. The number of new registrations in the system for May was 16,281 people.

Officials have recorded steep declines in the number of refugees arriving in Germany in recent months, with a drop of almost a quarter between March and April, and a nearly 90 percent plunge between December and April.

The Bundesrepublik took in an estimated one million refugees last year, with numbers rising rapidly after Chancellor Angela Merkel temporarily suspended certain EU asylum rules for people fleeing the bloody civil war in Syria.

But refugees' ability to make it to Germany from war-torn countries has been greatly hindered in recent months by the closure of borders by Balkan countries.

Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière has also said that officials expect 100,000 migrants to leave the country this year, voluntarily or through deportation.

The largest group of people applying for asylum in May were from Syria at about 40 percent, while about 17 percent came from Afghanistan and 15 percent came from Iraq.

The vast majority of those who applied were first-time applicants (54,056) while the rest were applying a subsequent time.

The interior ministry also reported that the government had made asylum decisions on the cases of more than 36,000 people in May. About 42 percent (15,419 people) received refugee status under the Geneva Convention while another 15.3 percent received other forms of protective status under EU directives.

About 41.7 percent of the applications were rejected, rescinded by the applicant, or the applicants were sent back to the first EU country where they arrived.

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