What happened in Germany after refugees were admitted

Number of refugees

The number of asylum seekers in Germany has risen sharply in recent years. Since the spring of 2016, the number of new asylum seekers has decreased again.

How many asylum applications are made in Germany?


  • Between January and March 2021, 45,682 asylum applications were made, of which 27,995 were initial applications.
  • That is around 25 percent more applications than last year.
  • The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees has decided on 43,353 applications. The protection rate was 34 percent. These include persons entitled to asylum under Article 16a of the Basic Law, refugees under the Geneva Refugee Convention, persons entitled to subsidiary protection and cases of deportation bans under Section 60 (5) or (7) sentence 1 of the Residence Act , Page 3


In 2020 there were a total of 122,170 asylum applications, of which 102,581 were initial applications. About one fifth of the cases are applications from children born in Germany of asylum seekers or recognized refugees. The main countries of origin of the applicants were Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq. The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) has decided over 145,071 applications during this period. The protection rate was 43.1 percent. SourceBAMF: Current figures on Asylum 12/2020, page 3 and Federal Ministry of the Interior, press release on 10.1.2021

The BAMF publication "Current Numbers on Asylum" offers monthly updated figures on asylum applications.

Where do the applicants come from?

Between January and March 2021 Most of the asylum seekers came from the following countries:

Countries of origin 2020

How many refugees receive protection in Germany?

The BAMF decided on 43,353 asylum applications between January and March 2021. Protection was granted to 14,727 people. This results in a protection rate of34 percent Source BAMF, Current Figures on Asylum 3/2021, page 3

From them received:

Annual numbers 2020

  • Decisions: 145.071
  • Positive decisions: 62.470
  • Protection rate:43.1 percent
  • Refugee protection:36.125 / Persons entitled to asylum under Article 16a of the Basic Law: 1.693 / subsidiary protection: 18.950 / Ban on deportation: 5.702SourceBAMF, current figures on Asylum 12/2020, page 3

Although asylum notices are issued at the federal level by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, there are considerable differences between the protection rates in the individual federal states and in individual BAMF branch offices. In the first half of 2020, the protection rate for Afghan asylum seekers with comparable numbers of cases in Trier (Rhineland-Palatinate) was around 70 percent - in Manching (Bavaria) it was only 32 percent. Source Bundestag printed paper 19/28109, page 14

The BAMF explains the discrepancies in part by the fact that asylum applications are unevenly distributed among the federal states. A study by the University of Konstanz, on the other hand, attributes the differences to the socio-economic background of the decision-makers and the bureaucratic overload of the authorities. Source Bundestag printed paper 19/6786, page 11 and G. Schneider, M. Leue (2019), Federal inequalities in the entire asylum procedure

Adjusted protection rate: The total protection rate does not provide any information about how many asylum seekers are actually in need of protection. Because many applications are decided "formally", without checking the content. This is the case, for example, if an asylum application has been withdrawn or another EU country is responsible. If one takes the "formal decisions" from the processed cases, one understands as formal decisions all cases that are dealt with elsewhere, for example if an application is withdrawn or the applicant marries a German citizen or - which is the case in most cases - because according to the Dublin Ordinance, another state is responsible for the asylum application. “From January to March 2021, an" adjusted "protection rate of about 59 percentSourceCurrent figures on Asylum 3/2021, page 3, own calculations

How many women and children are among the refugees?

Around 40 percent of the asylum seekers who applied in Germany between January and March 2021 were girls and women. In the age group of 18 to 25 year olds there was the lowest proportion of women at around 27 percent. The gender ratio is more balanced among the children (under 16 years of age); the proportion of boys only slightly predominates here.

Since 2016, the proportion of women among refugees has risen by around six percentage points Own calculation based on BAMF (2020): Current figures on Asylum 3/2021 and BAMF (2017): Federal Office in Figures 2016, page 22.

The refugees are on average very young: around 79 percent of asylum seekers who applied between January and March 2021 were under 30 years old. Minors made up about 52 percent of asylum seekers. Source BAMF, Current Figures on Asylum, 3/2021, page 8

How many relatives move to refugees in Germany?

2020: The German embassies issued around 76,000 visas for the purpose of family reunification in 2020 - around 10,000 of them went to relatives of Syrian (7,186), Afghan (1,400) and Iraqi citizens (1,358). A total of almost 13,000 family reunification visas were issued to people who come from countries of asylum origin: Afghanistan, Eritrea, Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Yemen, Syria. Source German Bundestag - 19th electoral term - Minutes 205th meeting January 2021, page 122

2019 107,520 visas were issued worldwide for the purpose of family reunification - 22,744 of them to people from the three most important refugee countries of origin: Syria (18,205 visas), Iraq (2,858 visas) and Afghanistan (1,681 visas).

What is the legal situation?

Asylum seekers and recognized refugees have the right to bring their spouses and minor children to Germany. Unaccompanied minors can have their parents join them. In contrast to other non-EU citizens, recognized refugees have special rights in family reunification: They do not have to prove that they have sufficient income and housing to do so - provided that the application is made within three months after they have been recognized as refugees were.QuelleBAMF (2019): "Family asylum and family reunification"; Residence Act, Section 29 subsection 2

Different regulations apply to refugees who receive "subsidiary protection": between March 2016 and July 2018 they were not allowed to bring any family members to Germany. This has been allowed again since August 1, 2018. However, only 1,000 people per month are planned - cases of hardship are excluded. Source § 36a AufenthG; Federal Government (2018): "New rules for family reunification"

How many relatives move to "beneficiaries of subsidiary protection"?

Between August and December 2018, 2,612 family members of beneficiaries of subsidiary protection received a visa. The monthly quota of 1,000 people was therefore initially not exhausted. That changed in 2019: 10,461 such visas were issued between January and November 2019. The monthly figures were on average just under 1,000. Source for 2018: Bundestag: Plenary minutes 19/82, p. 9611; for 2019: Bundestag printed paper 19/14640, page 24 ff, own calculation

Figures from the Federal Foreign Office show that many relatives of those entitled to subsidiary protection are still waiting for family reunification: at the end of 2019, the diplomatic branches in Lebanon, Jordan, Northern Iraq, Turkey and Egypt had received around 22,000 appointment requests to apply for a corresponding visa / 139, p. 17412, own calculation

How many refugees live in Germany?

As of December 31, 2020, there were around 1.4 million people in Germany who were protected in Germany, according to the Federal Ministry of the Interior. Around a third of them are minors. Every fifth person has lived in Germany for more than six years. Source Bundestag printed paper 19/28234, page 3 ff, own calculations

These are:

  • 43.927 Persons entitled to asylum under Article 16a of the Basic Law
  • 741.685 Refugees under the Geneva Refugee Convention
  • 244.190 beneficiaries of subsidiary protection
  • 120.977 People who are prohibited from deportation.
  • Further 226.000 People have been granted protection due to different circumstances, including residence permits according to Sections 18a, 19d, 22, 23, 23a, 25, 25a, 60, 104a and 104b AufenthG - for example because they have a job or because they cannot be deported for humanitarian reasons .

In addition, there were around 208,300 asylum seekers with open protection status and around 183,700 people "required to leave" with a rejected asylum application who are still in Germany for various reasons. That adds up to around 1.8 million people seeking protection.Source Bundestag printed paper 19/28234, pages 35 ff and 63, own calculation

Special evaluation by the Federal Statistical Office

The figures from the Ministry of the Interior are based on entries in the Central Register of Foreigners (AZR). However, they can be out of date or incomplete. The Federal Statistical Office has therefore published a special evaluation of the AZR data. Accordingly, as of the reporting date December 31, 2019, about 1.8 million asylum seekers in Germany. According to the Federal Statistical Office, all foreigners who are in Germany for humanitarian reasons are considered to be asylum seekers. This also includes asylum seekers in the process as well as rejected asylum seekers. Their number rose by three percent compared to the previous year.

Round1.4 Million of them had a humanitarian residence permit, i.e. a recognized protection status. In 80 percent of the cases, the status is limited in time. Source: Press release of the Federal Statistical Office 2020

The most common forms of protection are protection under Article 16 of the Basic Law, protection under the Geneva Refugee Convention, subsidiary protection and the ban on deportation.

Living in Germany (figures rounded):

  • 12.200 Persons entitled to asylum under Article 16a of the Basic Law.
  • 615.700 Refugees under the Geneva Refugee Convention. Most of them come from Syria and Iraq and most of them came to Germany in the last five years.
  • 235.800 beneficiaries of subsidiary protection. Most of them also come from Syria and Iraq and only recently entered Germany.
  • 112.500 People who are prohibited from deportation. Most of them come from Afghanistan. SourceStatistisches Bundesamt (2020): Population and Employment: Asylum seekers, page 174 ff and Bundestag printed paper 19/13303, pages 31 and 34

Foreigners in need of protection can also receive protection in Germany without a positive asylum decision. The approximately 1.4 million people who have received protection also include:

  • 22.700 Persons who have been granted a residence or settlement permit "to safeguard the political interests of the Federal Republic of Germany" (AufenthG §23, Paragraph 2). Most of them have lived in Germany for a long time and come from the former Soviet Union.
  • 6.300 People who are granted a temporary residence permit, Section 25 (4), for "urgent humanitarian or personal reasons".
  • 21.700 People to whom the federal states have granted protection for special humanitarian reasons, AufenthG Section 23 (1). This is the case, for example, with Syrians who entered the country as part of the countries' admission programs.
  • 38.800 Foreigners who are obliged to leave the country and whose departure has not been possible for more than 18 months "for legal or factual reasons, Residence Act Section 25 (5)". Most of them are rejected asylum seekers.SourceStatistisches Bundesamt (2020): Population and Employment: Asylum Seekers, page 174 ff

This also includes 266.000 Persons with open protection status whose asylum application has not yet been finally decided. As well as 213,000 Due to different recording methods, the data of the special evaluation of the Federal Statistical Office deviate from the data of the Federal Ministry of the Interior on persons obliged to leave the country. People whose asylum application has been rejected or who have lost their protection status. 84 percent of them live as so-called tolerated persons in Germany. Source Press release of the Federal Statistical Office 2020

How big is the processing backlog for asylum applications?

At the end of February 2021, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) reported that there were 66,583 asylum applications for which a decision was pending. After the number has risen over the years, it has tended to decline since October 2016. At the same time, many asylum seekers complained against the BAMF's notices: As of June 30, 2020, around 230,000 Federal Bundestag printed matter 19/22023, page 45 proceedings in the area of ​​asylum were pending at the administrative and higher administrative courts. Around 15 percent of all lawsuits were successful in the first half of 2020. However, if you subtract the cases in which no judgment was reached - for example because the lawsuit was withdrawn or because several related lawsuits were merged - you get a success rate of around 30 percent. SourceBundestagsdrucksache 19/22023 pages 35 and 45, own calculations

How many asylum applications are made in the EU?


According to the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), around 461,300 people applied for asylum in the European Union in 2020 - 31 percent less than in the previous year. Most of them came from Syria, Afghanistan, Venezuela, Colombia and Iraq.SourceEASO, Latest asylum trends - 2020 overview

During this time, the asylum authorities of the EU member states have made around 521,000 decisions in asylum procedures. About a third of them had a positive outcome. At the end of November 2020 there were around 760,600 applications The European Statistics Office, Eurostat, counts pending asylum procedures in the asylum authorities and in the courts (for example in the case of asylum claims). a final decision pending - around 257,000 of them in Germany. Source Eurostat, Persons subject of asylum applications pending at the end of the month by citizenship, age and sex - monthly data

Most asylum applications were made in the following countries Eurostat records the number of asylum applications differently than the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (numbers rounded up - as of November 2020):

  1. Germany: 110.400
  2. France: 85.200
  3. Spain: 84.500
  4. Greece: 37.900
  5. Italy: 23.300

In relation to the number of inhabitants, the number of applicants was highest in 2020 in:

  1. Cyprus: about 5.8 applicants per thousand inhabitants
  2. Malta: 4,6
  3. Greece: 3,5
  4. Luxembourg: 1,9
  5. Spain: 1,8

SourceEUROSTAT, asylum seekers and first-time asylum seekers - monthly aggregated data, World Bank, population total, own calculations


According to the European Statistical Office, around 721,000 people applied for asylum in the 28 member states of the European Union in 2019 (initial and follow-up applications) - that is around 11 percent more asylum applications than in 2018. Most of the applicants came from Syria (74.375), Afghanistan (52.545), Venezuela (44.760), and Colombia (31.815) .SourceEUROSTAT, asylum seekers and first-time asylum seekers - annual aggregated data

How many refugees are there worldwide?

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) estimates that by the end of 2019 the number of refugees and displaced persons (forcibly displaced) worldwide rose to 79.5 million - that is 8.7 million more than at the end of 2018. Around 40 percent of all refugees are children .

  • The majority of those affected, around 45.7 million, are on the run within their own country (internally displaced persons).
  • Another 26 million are recognized refugees - that is, people who, according to international agreements, include the "Geneva Refugee Convention", the "Convention on the Regulation of the Special Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa", the UNHCR statutes and a number of regional agreements on refugee protection. The UNHCR provides an overview in a manual, page 5-9.
  • 5,6 are stateless Palestinians under a mandate from the United Nations Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Middle East (UNRWA).
  • 4.2 million are asylum seekers - i.e. refugees who are still waiting for the outcome of their asylum procedure. Source UNHCR (2020): "Global Trends. Forced Displacement 2019", p. 2

Most of the refugees come from Syria (6.6 million people), Venezuela. The UN refugee agency UNHCR records refugees from Venezuela as "Venezuelans displaced abroad", because only a few of them were able to obtain official refugee status in neighboring countries. (3.7 million) and Afghanistan (2.7 million). Source UNHCR (2020): "Global Trends. Forced Displacement 2019", p. 3

Internally displaced persons and asylum seekers have only been recorded by the UNHCR since 2007. If you want to trace the development of the number of refugees, you have to refer to the statistics, which only refer to refugees who are under the mandate of the UNHCR. Palestinian refugees who are under the mandate of the UN Aid for Palestine Refugees in the Middle East (UNRWA) are not included. of "recognized refugees".Thereafter, the number of refugees peaked in 1992 at around 18 million. It has risen again since 2012.Source UNHCR: Worldwide refugee numbers 1960 to 2013, at the request of the media service

Which country takes in the most refugees in the world?

The question is not that easy to answer: unlike in Germany, there is no functioning asylum system in many receiving countries. This means that refugees are not automatically registered there. According to the UN refugee agency UNHCR, almost 60 percent of the around 79.5 million people who are on the run worldwide have also not been able to leave their own country. They are counted as so-called Internally Displaced People. Most of the refugees who find protection abroad also stay close to their home. Source UNHCR (2020): "Global Trends. Forced Displacement 2019"

The UNHCR publishes data every six months on how many people are estimated to be living as refugees or in "refugee-like conditions". If you add up the numbers of refugees and asylum seekers living in the country, GermanyIn Germany, the UNHCR counts as refugees entitled to asylum under Article 16 of the Basic Law, refugees under the Geneva Refugee Convention and beneficiaries of subsidiary protection. At the end of 2019, it was in second place among the countries that took in the most asylum seekers worldwide. Source UNHCR (2020): "Global Trends. Forced Displacement 2019", p. 65ff.

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