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Working Together for Local Integration of Migrants and Refugees in Berlin

image of Working Together for Local Integration of Migrants and Refugees in Berlin

Berlin has long been a diverse, multicultural city and today about 1 million – or 30% – of its inhabitants have a migration background, meaning that they – or at least one of their parents – were born without German nationality. Berlin’s authorities perceive diversity as generally accepted in Berlin’s society. This case study takes a close look at the city’s migrant integration programmes and services, examining how all levels of government participate in these programmes, as well as the growing role played by third-sector agencies. It considers how Berlin’s administration reacted to the sharp rise in asylum applications in 2015-16, rapidly updating existing integration measures as well as developing emergency ones. The integration of these newcomers needs to be monitored in order to demonstrate policy impact and to help establish whether such policies can be expanded to help other migrant groups that still experience wide socio-economic gaps compared to native population.

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Statistics on Asylum Applications in Germany

According to BAMF (2016), in 2015 Germany acknowledged an increase in asylum applications in comparison to 2014 by 155.3% (441 899 applications) and made decisions on 282 726 asylum applications, of which 49.8% were positive decisions (140 915 positive decisions). The majority of applications were submitted by Syrians (35.9%), followed by Albanians (12.2%) and Kosovars (7.6%). Albanian and Kosovar requests have a very low rate of asylum recognition (Albania: 0.2%; Kosovo: 0.4%), whereas Syrian (96% of applicants were recognised as refugees in 2015) Iraqi (88.6% in 2015) and Afghans (47.6% in 2015) have a higher rate. In 2016 the number of applicants further increased sharply (63.5% increase compared to 2015). The BAMF received 722 370 first applications for asylum, of which 62.4% were granted (433 920 positive decisions). According BAMF (2016), Most applications were made (36.9 %) for Syrians (recognition rate 98%), followed by 17.6% for Afghans (recognition rate 55.8%) and 13.3% for Iraqis (recognition rate 70.2%). The sharp increase in 2016 does not reflect a high inflow but rather a backlog in the handling of applications submitted in 2015 (OECD, 2016:190/191).

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