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Optimised asylum procedure

Date 18 December 2015

Minister-President Winfried Kretschmann, the Head of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) Frank-Jürgen Weise, as well as Klaus Vitt, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI), together visited the Central Registration Centre and the BAMF’s unit at the Patrick Henry Village in Heidelberg on Friday (18 December 2015). On their tour, they inspected the Land’s registration line and the newly-established BAMF unit in operation, and spoke with staff deployed there. "We want to show that success can only be achieved in coordination between the Federation, the Land and the local authorities", said Weise.

The model procedure

The Federal Office was already able to shorten the duration of the proceedings for these countries of origin to a few weeks in the summer of 2015 by concentrating on processing selected countries of origin. The experience from this process was used in close coordination with the Land Baden-Württemberg to work out a model procedure with case clusters to accelerate the stages of the asylum procedure. The basic concept consists of sub-dividing asylum-seekers into four groups (clusters) before filing applications. The criteria here are the country of origin (cluster A: protection rate of the country of origin > 50 % and cluster B: safe country of origin/Western Balkans), the anticipated complexity (cluster C: complex cases) or the route travelled (cluster D: Dublin procedure examination).

A figure shows the path taken by asylum applicants through the model asylum procedure.The figure illustrates the path taken by an asylum applicant. The subdivision into clusters shortens the waiting periods. Source: © BAMF|BA

The Land Baden-Württemberg has established a new registration centre in Heidelberg with 5,000 accommodation places. The Land registers the asylum-seekers, and examines their state of health before they file an application. Further components of the model procedure reduce the time needed in processing: Interpreters inform groups of asylum-seekers of their rights and obligations in specially set up rooms. All sides benefit from all the steps of the complex refugee acceptance and registration procedure being implemented in one single place: from fingerprinting and photography and medical examinations, through filing asylum applications to the asylum notice.

To this end, physical and technical document examination (for instance of passports) is carried out on the spot.

Staff of the Federal Office process the applications from clusters A and B within a maximum of 48 hours. This enables the Federal Office and the Federal Land to plan their capacities better. The Federal Office’s local offices are relieved of a part of their burden.

Hervorhebung_Gesetzgebung: Background information

The core concept of the model procedure consists of sub-dividing asylum-seekers into four groups, depending on the procedural steps likely to be needed:

Cluster A: Countries of origin with very good prospects to remain

  • applies to Syria and Eritrea, as well as to religious minorities in Iraq
  • proceedings completed within 24-48 hours
  • application approved as a rule
  • individuals passed on directly to local authorities
  • integration activities (integration courses, access to labour market) can begin immediately

Cluster B: Safe countries of origin

  • applies to the Western Balkan states in particular
  • proceedings completed within 24-48 hours
  • return counselling prior to registration
  • application turned down as a rule
  • applicants remain in a facility until voluntary exit or return


Cluster C: Complex cases (not included in clusters A and B)

  • proceedings completed, or
  • passed on for processing in a local office


Cluster D: Dublin-Fälle:

  • passed on for processing in a local office

Early advice on integration courses and employment

Individuals with good prospects to remain (cluster A) are counselled by the Federal Employment Agency on access to the labour market in the new model procedure before they have received an asylum notice. Counsellors draw up information on asylum-seekers’ labour market profiles which can be accessed by employment agencies and job centres at the subsequent places of residence. When in Heidelberg, the asylum-seekers are also already provided with information on the BAMF’s integration courses at their subsequent places of residence.

Issuance of the proof of arrival

The issuance processes for asylum-seekers’ proof of arrival will be examined in Heidelberg in a first test procedure at the start of the coming week. The document, which is tamper proof, contains the personal data of the asylum-seeker, as well as a biometric passport photograph. A barcode is used in particular to record the personal data and the number in the Central Register of Foreigners so as to make it machine readable.

New procedure to be introduced nationwide

All the authorities involved have given a positive assessment of the experience from the new procedure. Individual procedures are linked even more closely, such as in data collection and exchange, as well as the deployment of interpreters. The Federal Office is planning to have a local office working according to this model procedure in each Federal Land by mid-2016. Several Federal Länder have already indicated an interest in carrying this out as quickly as possible.

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