Content of this page:
1. Description of the refugee situation
2. Germany's response to the refugee situation
3. Steps towards meeting the objectives of the Compact in Germany
1. Description of refugee situation
Where does the population of concern live?
Mostly in urban settings.
Population of concern
Find live data, information and fact sheets on the refugee situation in Germany on the UNHCR Operational Portal as well as Global Focus.
2. Germany's response to the refugee situation
Owing to political instability in the Middle East and in parts of Africa between 2014 and 2015, the numbers of persons seeking asylum in Germany reached an historic peak, with approximately 890,000 asylum seekers being registered Germany in 2015. This situation in resulted in the establishment of new intra-government mechanisms. The federal government took a central role in managing new refugees, lending administrative and financial support to federal government entities, who themselves made considerable efforts in the areas under their responsibility. A joint Bundes level (federal level) /Länder level (federal states government) coordination group was established under the leadership of the Federal Ministry of Interior, followed by the creation of a steering committee to manage the refugee situation. These structures brought together state secretaries from all federal ministries involved, with the Federal Chancellery responsible for general policy coordination. The financial commitments provided by the federal government, originally envisaged until 2018, have been sustained (albeit at a reduced scale).
Partnerships in the refugee response
Many partnerships have been strengthened or have been made possible thanks to the implementation of the Global Compact of Refugees. Partners involved:
- Line Ministries
- Local government
- UN Agencies
- National NGOs
- International NGOs
- Private Sector
The response to the refugee situation in Germany is enabled by a wealth of actors working together. In addition to the above mentioned actors, hundreds of thousands of volunteers deserve special mention as well as local municipalities, including mayors.
Measures in the spirit of the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR)
The following measures were taken by the German Government in response to large numbers of asylum-seekers arriving in the country starting in 2015 and in line with the GCR.
To respond to the 2015 situation described above, the Federal Government of Germany allocated an additional federal budget. The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) required additional resources (staff and IT capabilities) to record and process the substantial increase in asylum applications.
Today still, all individuals who report as asylum-seekers are registered. This is carried out at "PIK" (Personalisation Infrastructure Component) stations by the Federal or Land police, by staff of the BAMF or by staff of the Länder. At this point, personal data is recorded and stored centrally in the "Central Register of Foreigners". All public agencies which subsequently require the data to deliver their functions and responsibilities have access to it. Asylum-seekers receive a proof of arrival (Ankunftsnachweis) at the reception facility or at the arrival centre, which is a proof of their registration.
The actual reception of individuals is carried out by the Länder at regional level. They played a key role in managing the arrival of the unprecedented number of asylum-seekers and create new accommodation facilities on a daily basis, for months in a row. These efforts were supported by significant demonstrations of solidarity and large numbers of volunteers acting in a self-organised way or within welfare organisations (such as NGOs) running the reception centres.
The objectives of broadening the support base for refugees worldwide, addressing the root causes of forced displacement and the four objectives of the Global Compact on Refugees have also been at the centre of the external dimension of the Federal Government’s refugee policy. The Federal Government has been applying a whole-of-government and multi-stakeholder approach by working with various UN organisations, official German implementing organisations, non-governmental organisations, municipalities, political foundations and faith-based organisations.
3. Steps towards meeting the objectives of the Compact
Summary of the GCR in action in Germany
Partnerships working in education, livelihoods, health and social inclusion have already transformed the lives of refugees and their hosts. The Federal Government improved the asylum procedure by updating its decision-making processes, administrative structures, and IT systems. The registration system, named EASY, registers refugees anonymously and is used to ensure an even relocation of asylum-seekers among the German Länder immediately upon arrival in Germany.
Germany views the successful integration of refugees as a long-term effort in which consistent engagement of all levels of political structures and society should be pursued. Abroad range of measures has been applied to promote better integration of refugees in Germany, including language and orientation courses and advisory services for persons who have been granted protection and to asylum-seekers with a high likelihood of succeeding in the asylum procedure. This is complemented by efforts towards labour market integration and integration into society. Great efforts were made to achieve integration into the education system, especially for the inclusion of minors in schools through greater investment in language skills. Assessments of higher education aptitude as well as bridging courses have paved the way for talented refugees to enroll in university study programmes.
Moreover, civil society and NGOs greatly invested in supporting refugees in their integration efforts, for example by mentoring or buddy-projects or through self-organised language courses. Moreover, private companies have increasingly engaged in the promotion of the integration of refugees, for instance by creating particular work- and language-related training programmes.
At the same time, Germany has also assumed increasing responsibility for the refugee cause abroad and is currently the second largest bilateral donor of humanitarian assistance, and to UNHCR, as well as the second largest donor of development cooperation. Through its entire range of policy areas and instruments and by using more flexible and targeted instruments such as the special initiative “Tackling the Root Causes of Displacement and (Re-) integrating Refugees”, Germany is seeking to meet the objectives of the Global Compact, namely to reduce the pressures on host countries, enhance refugee self-reliance and support conditions in countries of origin for return in safety and dignity.
Relating to the third objective of improving access to third country solutions, Germany continued its admission and resettlement programmes, which have expanded significantly over the past years. In addition to humanitarian admission and resettlement to Germany, the latest step included the creation of a pilot for a community sponsorship programme (“New start in a team” – NesT) , which was launched in 2019. In addition, some of the German Länder complemented the federal programmes by their own Länder programmes allowing for a small additional admission quota of resettled refugees or persons evacuated from danger zones.
For more projects in Germany, please explore the Good Practices page and its various projects and initiatives in Germany.