Germany Received 1,000 Asylum Requests a Month from Iranians in 2018, Weekly Says


Seven percent of the 164,000 asylum seekers who entered Germany in 2018 were Iranians, or a total of 11,760, the Hamburg-based weekly Die Zeit said, citing a recent government report.

The data indicates that the number of Iranians seeking asylum in Germany has risen from 400 a month to 1,000 a month in the past five years. According to the report, 74 percent of refugees in Germany are under 30 years old, including a large number of university graduates from Iran, who can successfully enter the workforce in a relatively short time.

In October, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government reached an agreement with the Christian Social Union party in Bavaria to limit the number of people allowed to apply for asylum each year to 200,000. A recent study, however, showed that the number of refugees accepted into Germany fell well short of that minimum quota.

Nearly 27 percent of all individuals who sought asylum in Germany in 2018 were from Iraq and another 10 percent were from Syria. More than 56 percent of applicants were male and 46 percent were female.

At a press conference in December, the head of the German Employers Federation, Ingo Kramer, said that of the one million refugees who arrived in Germany in 2015 and 2016, nearly 400,000 had successfully entered the job market after graduating from professional schools. According to Mr. Kramer, most young refugees become proficient enough in the German language within a year to attend professional schools.

A report by the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) released in June 2017 said that the number of asylum applicants in Norway, Sweden, and EU member countries had dropped by 50 percent since 2016. The trend continued through 2018. Stricter immigration laws, rising xenophobia, and the closure of migrant routes have slowed down the flow of refugees into Europe.

The persistent economic crisis in Iran has forced a record number of people to escape to Europe in search of a better life. The number of Iranians seeking asylum in Germany rose from 4,400 in 2013 to more than 6,000 in 2018, or a 37 percent increase. Only 3 percent of all asylum seekers in Germany were from Iran in 2013.

The number of young Iranian asylum seekers in Europe has, however, steadily increased since the aftermath of the presidential elections in 2009, in which the Islamic Republic’s security forces brutally crushed mass protests by university students and supporters of the pro-democracy Green Movement.

Close to 35 percent of all asylum applications reviewed by the German government in 2018 were approved. It is unclear how many of the 11,760 Iranians who applied for asylum in 2018 were granted indefinite leave to remain in Germany.

The German government published its first annual report on refugees, migrants and asylum seekers in 1984. Between 1984 and 2012, a total of 126,000 Iranians applied for asylum in Germany. The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees recently raised the figure to 160,000 to include the number of asylum seekers from 2012 through 2018.

Translated from Persian by Fardine Hamidi