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News 07 Jan 16

Albania, Kosovo Top German 2015 Asylum List

Albania and Kosovo are among the three top countries whose citizens requested asylum during 2015 in Germany, new data show.  

Marija Ristic
BIRN
Belgrade
 On September 1, a new centre opened in the German town of Ingolstadt to assess and repatriate migrants from Kosovo, Albania, Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Bosnia. Photo: Philip Kleinfeld

Albanians were the largest single national group seeking asylum in Germany after Syrians last year, according to a German ministry report.

Some 54,762 people from Albania sought asylum in Germany in 2015. Kosovars made up the next largest group, filing 37,095 requests. Citizens of Afghanistan and Iraq came fourth and fifth.

Serbia came next - responsible for 26,945 requests - and Macedonia followed, generating 14,131 requests.

Balkan countries also topped the list of asylum seekers in 2014, after which Germany decided to name these countries "safe" countries of origin, making their citizens almost ineligible for asylum.

Germany is struggling to deal with an influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees, mainly from Syria, which is one reason for the introduction of a tougher policy towards refugees and migrants from the Balkans.

"We have to be able to distinguish between immigrants with a real need of protection and immigrants with no prospect of residence," the premier of Bavaria, Horst Seehofer, said last year when explaining the reasons for the change.

Unlike Syrians, migrants from the Balkans are classified as “economic migrants”, a term used not only to categorise why people left their homes but to determine who has a right to stay.

Stripped of their right to claim asylum, the German authorities are placing Balkan migrants in camps from which deportation home is the only likely outcome.

More than thousands applicants from Albania have already been returned to Tirana, while many more are still in camps in Germany, mostly in Bavaria.

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