Even if the life-threatening journey might end with entry into Europe or Germany, the often traumatic experiences during the journey are seldom over for refugees and migrants.

Many factors serve to diminish refugees' feelings of relief on arrival in Europe such as, accommodation in crowded emergency shelters, fear for relatives and friends, loss of home, long asylum procedures and the feeling of being at somebody else’s mercy, as well as the fear of being forced to return to their country of origin.

Dublin Regulation

Process for determining the responsible EU member state: usually the first country of entry

Original intention: one application per person, responsible country
clearly defined

per 100,000 inhabitants
First applications by country in EU and EFTA Member States, 2015–2020*UK 2015–2019 (Brexit)


within the EU

Lack of a Common

European Mechanism

for the Distribution of Refugees

excessive demands on EU member states in the South: Greece, Cyprus, Malta

the consequence: irregular migration internally in Europe, especially to Germany and France

hostile attitude of European countries towards refugees and migrants

De facto failure of the Dublin Regulation

Ursula von der Leyen, Federal Minister of Defense from 2013–2019,
© piture alliance, REUTERS, Dimitar Kyosemarliev


and Solutions

"I never really understood why Dublin started with
the simple equation: Where a migrant first sets foot
on European ground, he or she has to stay. Migration happens by sea or over land. We can only have stable external borders if we support the countries which are, due to their geographical position, under the most pressure. We have to reform Dublin to achieve more fairness and share the burden."

Ursula von der Leyen, 19.07.2019

The Role of


Cities and municipalities have always been destinations for migrants. It is therefore in their own interest to be part of the decison-making process as to how migration is regulated and how coexisting in a diverse community can best be structured.

Cities and municipalities have a certain amount of leeway to make decisions, which, in some cases they use in opposition to the migration policies of their national governments. Therefore they join, for example, city networks such as EUROCITIES, Solidarity Cities or associations such as Seebrücke.

In addition, the cities are calling on the EU and its member states to reform the Dublin Regulation and to allow municipalities to participate actively in decision-making processes for the resettlement quotas and financial support, as well as in the concept of returnee programmes.

The stages of

the german

asylum procedure

Arrival and registration in Germany
Initial distribution among the federal states
Reporting to the corresponding
reception facility and accommodation there
Personal application to the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF)
Examination of the Dublin regulation
Personal interview at the federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF)
Possibilities for decision-making in the national procedure:
of entitlement to asylum Art. 16a of the Basic Law
Award of refugee protection section 3 of the Asylum Act
Award of subsidiary protection Section 4 of the Asylum Act
Imposition of a ban on deportation Section 60 V+VII of the Residence Act
Outright rejection with a notice to leave the country where appropriate, a ban on entry and residence
Rejection as “manifestly unfounded” with a notice to leave the country where appropriate, a ban on entry and residence
Appeals available against the decision of
Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF)
Appeals available against the decision of
Appeal deadline two weeks
Possibilities for decision-making in the national procedure:
Appeal deadline
one week
Right of residence / to remain:
the Federal Office
the Federal Office
Obligation to depart:
Residence permit for three years
Residence permit for one year (repeated extension possible for two years in each case)
Residence permit for at least one year (repeated extension possible)
30-day period to leave overseen by immigration authorities
One-week period to leave overseen by immigration authorities
Simplified description of asylum procedure applicable to an adult, BAMF 2018


After acceptance into a first admittance institution
in the current federal state, a further distribution to other federal states takes place according to the quota system “Königsteiner Schlüssel” (under consideration of tax incomes and population numbers).

The specific distribution to a particular institution takes place according to capacities and the refugee´s country of origin.

Every branch office of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) specializes in applications from different countries of origin and no one office can work on applications from all countries.

Königsteiner Schlüssel, 2019, BAMF 2020

The Hearing

Extended preparation for the hearing is highly recommended

Extended preparation for the

hearing is highly recommended

Core element of the asylum procedure, as the record of the hearing serves as a base for decision regarding the asylum application.

"Foreign nationals are required to explain the facts that justify their fear of persecution or the threat of a pending loss and have to provide the required details." (§25 Abs. 1 S. 1 AsylG).

Prima facie evidence is sufficient, which means a plausible testimony regarding the state of persecution in a lively and detailed manner in
accordance with general information about the country of origin must be given. The testimony cannot contain inherent contradictions or suspected exaggerations.

Submission of eventual evidence (documents, photos, certifications, etc.).

Present parties: applicant, receiver, interpreter as well as legal guardian, person of trust, lawyer and a representative of the United
Nations High Commissioner for Refugees where appropriate.

Hearing simulation, Refugee Law Clinic Erlangen-Nüruberg e.V.

Asylum Procedure

Review Standards

The National Refugee Law is bound by European and international law.

In this regard, not only the right of asylum, but the right to international protection is reviewed in the asylum procedure. This is twofold: primarily, a refugee protection by being declared a refugee according to the Geneva Refugee Convention (GRC), secondly, the so-called subsidiary protection. In addition, Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) has to check for the existence of national deportation bans.

Right to Asylum,

Art. 16a GG

"Politically persecuted persons have the right to asylum."
(Art. 16a Abs. 1 GG)

The definition of refugees is based on that of the GRC, but with restrictive differences in important points.

Exclusion due to migration from a third country (Art. 16a Abs. 2 GG)

Based on stricter requirements, but has the same legal consequences the basic asylum right has. When compared to the refugee status, it has practically no significance on its own.

In arrival centres asylum seekers receive a wristband showing the registration number and the address of the arrival center, © Fateh Khodamoradi

Refugee Status,

§ 3 ff. AsylG

A refugee is any person who, due to a justified fear of persecution based on his/her race, religion, nationality, political conviction or membership in a certain social group, must leave his/her country of origin.

Exclusion is based on the existence of alternatives to fleeing or sufficient protection in the country of origin.

Secure third country regulation comparable with Art. 16a Abs. 2 GG does not exist.

Implementation of international and European obligations (GRC, Qualification Directive)

Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) in Nürnberg, © picure alliance, dpa, Daniel Karmann



§ 4 AsylG

Threat of serious danger in the country of origin through:

the death penalty,

torture or inhuman/humiliating

serious personal threat of life or integrity based on external circumstances.

Implementation of obligations based on European law (Qualification Directive)



Bans, § 60 Abs.

5/7 AufenthG

If deportation results in a violation of the European Convention for Human Rights (Abs. 5)

If there is a serious and concrete danger of bodily harm or to life or freedom in the country in question. (Abs. 7)



3 years, with
possible extension
1 year, extension of
up to 2 years possible
At least 1 year, maximum of 3 years extension possible
Reunion of the nuclear family guaranteed within three months after decision
No right to family
reunion, issue of up to
1,000 visa/month for
a residence permit
due to humanitarian
reasons is possible
Family reunion is
but not guaranteed;
a secure livelihood
must be guaranteed
Reunion with extended family members only in cases of hardship
No Family Asylum
Residence permit gives right to the exercise of employment
Permit from immigration authority is necessary
Claim for one-time participation within
one year after issue of residence permit
Permission only
according to
available places
Soonest after 3 years, requirements amongst others:
Soonest after
5 years, requirements
amongst others:
Excellent knowledge of the German language (C1)
Secure livelihood
After 5 years,
amongst others:
Payment of 60 monthly contributions
to a statuory pension or claim
of comparable payments
Secure livelihood
Sufficient knowledge of
the German language (B1)
sufficient German
language skills (A2)
Right to
Asylum /
Refugee Status
access to
family reunion
Simplified description of asylum procedure applicable to an adult, BAMF 2018



Rejection of asylum
Determination of a time limit for voluntary emigration
Threat of deportation issue of immigration and residence ban if necessary
if necessary
Forced emigration through relocation of person concerned into a country where they are allowed to immigrate
Exceptional Leave To Remain, § 60A, 60B, 60C, 60D AufenthG
Suspension of deportation enforcement
No punishment for illegal residence
No residence permit, obligation to leave remains
„Lane change” e.g residence permit for well-integrated young people (§ 25a AufenthG)
Exceptional leave to remain,
60A-D aufenthg
§ 60A aufenthg
Suspension of deportation enforcement based on legitimate or legal reasons
§ 60B Aufenthg
Deportation not possible due to self-inflicted reasons: e.g. unclear identity, Insufficient participation in governmental procedure, invalid passport
Reduction in benefits, working not allowed, possible incarceration, fines
Lane change
Practically impossible and politically not desired
§ 60C Aufenthg
Temporary suspension of deportation for a training
– Identity must be verified
– Training contract must be offered
Training start
During or after procedure for granting right of asylum. If there is no follow-up employment after the training, the exceptional leave to remain is extended by six months to find employment
Lane change
to a residence permit for skilled workers with vocational training qualification (§ 18a AufenthG )
§ 60D Aufenthg
Temporary suspension of deportation due to employment
Applies to
Immigrants arriving before 8/1/2018; Law expires on 12/31/2023
Strict requirements
– Identity must be verified
– Temporary suspension of deportation for at least 12 months
– Contract working hours of at least 35 hours per week for at least 18 months
– Ensured subsistence
– German language level: A2
– Successful completion of any required integration course
Lane change
to a residence permit in the case of permanent integration (§ 25b AufenthG) possible after 30 months
determination of a time limit for voluntary emigration
threat of deportation
issue of immigration and residence prohibition if necessary
Deportation if necessary
“Lane Change”?

Forced emigration through relocation of
person concerned, into a country where
he/she is allowed to immigrate

e.g. residence permit for well-
integrated young people (§ 25a
AufenthG) or for sustainable
integration (§ 25b AufenthG)

Tolerance, § 60a AufenthG

Suspension of deportation enforcement
of the persons concerned

mostly due to impossibility of deportation
for legitimate or legal reasons

also due to strong personal reasons
(e.g. tolerance for education)

tolerance means no residence permit,
obligation to leave remains.

no punishment for illegal residence.

Voluntary Emigration
More rejected (tolerated) asylum
applicants leave the country than there
are refugees who are “duty bound to leave
the country” (22,691 in year 2019).
Return - or rather
reintegration programmes
“REAG/GARP” by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM): Defrayal of travel costs + “start-up support” in the country of origin
“Perspective Home” by the BMZ: start-up consultation, continuing education
“ERIN” by the European Union: support for returning people in the initial phase via payment in kind and help with start-up
Own return programmes by 9 German federal states: consultation and financial aid

Nevertheless there remains a tense social and financial situation for returning people (savings often depleted during initial journey, status of social outsiders in country of origin).

In 2020 due to COVID-19, migrants were no longer able to voluntarily leave the country through a Return Program.

Simplified description of asylum procedure applicable to an adult, BAMF 2018




People whose asylum application is rejected must leave Germany within a short time.

They are then obliged to leave the country. If they do not leave voluntarily within a specified period of time and there are neither reasons for them to stay (e.g. illness) nor a temporary suspension of deportation (Duldung) has been granted, the foreigners authority will deport them. This is the task of the federal states, which often cooperate with the respective state police and the federal police.


Federal states are responsible for deportations

The relevant immigration authority reviews the presence of any obstacles to deportation and determines a time limit

Possible detention in cases of high flight risk

Individual or collective deportations

enforced by state or national police

Since 2015: of the planned repatriations, experience shows that about half remains unsuccessful

Largest number of deportations fail before the transfer to the national police

The number of deportations has decreased because of  the Corona virus pandemic

Deportations in Germany, 2014–2020, Deutscher Bundestag, Drs. 19/27007

Reactions to

difficulties with


The “Organised Return Law”

Better differentiation between deportees whose obstacle(s) of deportation are due to the person themselves or due to a third party

Reduction of material and formal requirements for detention pending deportation

Expansion of preparation for detention of threats to public safety and terrorists

Cooperation detention: persons concerned can be identified out of detention

Departure detention: lowering of flight risk

Separation of deportation inmates and criminal prisoners

Deportation protection is lowered for offenders

Increased measures against violent offenders

Harsh criticism, i.a. by Pro-Asyl:

Equal treatment of deportees and offenders due to joint accommodation

Exclusion of refugees from participation in social life

Grossly disproportionate sanctions

No one is illegal © Unsplash, ev