|Name in English||Number of staff||Ministry responsible||Is there any political interference possible by the responsible Minister with the decision making in individual cases by the first instance authority?|
|Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF)||8,138 positions (about 3,094.4 full-time positions in various asylum departments)||Federal Ministry of Interior||No|
Source: Federal Ministry of the Interior, ‘Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge’, available in German at https://bit.ly/3qTH0qt; and Federal Government, Response to parliamentary question by The Left, 20/4019, 12 October 2022, 51, https://bit.ly/3k5XoUw.
The BAMF is responsible for examining applications for international protection and competent to take decisions at first instance.
The BAMF has branch offices in all Federal States. As of January 2022, the BAMF website lists a total of 63 branch offices. The branch offices process the asylum procedures, but also carry out additional tasks (for instance, they function as contact points for authorities and organisations active in the integration of foreign nationals). Branch offices are assigned specific countries of origin, whereas the main countries of origin are processed in the majority of branch offices. In cooperation with the Federal States, the BAMF manages a distribution system for asylum seekers known as Initial Distribution of Asylum Seekers (Erstverteilung der Asylbegehrenden, EASY) system, which allocates places according to a quota system known as “Königsteiner Schlüssel” (see Asylum Act). The quota is based on the size and the economic strength of the Federal States in which the centres are located. Furthermore, the system takes into account which branch office of the BAMF deals with an asylum seeker’s country of origin.
As of September 2022, the BAMF had 3,094.4 positions or “full-time job equivalents” working on various aspects of asylum (meaning that the actual number of staff is likely to be much higher, since many of these positions are shared by people working part-time). Since the office is responsible for several other tasks on top of the asylum procedure (e.g. research, integration, migration for reasons other than asylum and return policies), not all staff members are working in the area of asylum. The overall number of positions is 8,138 according to the Federal Ministry of the Interior.
The government provided the following numbers for positions in the relevant departments as of September 2022:
- asylum department (excluding revocation and Dublin procedures): 2,230,9 full-time equivalents
- revocation procedures: 133,9 full-time equivalents
- procedures (appeal procedures, representation of the BAMF in court): 355 full-time equivalents
- quality management: 170 full-time equivalents
- Dublin-procedures: 338,5 full-time equivalents
The quality of BAMF asylum decisions has been much debated in recent years given the high number of appeals filed at the courts, but also because of “scandals” which prompted extensive media coverage in 2017 and 2018.  This was related, in part, to the high increase in personnel in 2015 and 2016, accompanied by shortened training phases, with some decision-makers not having received relevant training. As a result, the BAMF has undertaken several changes to the training provided to decision-makers and to the quality assurance procedures since 2017. As of 2018, short summaries of interview transcripts and notice letters are checked by a second employee. Randomly selected cases are subject to a more thorough quality control by the BAMF’s quality assurance division. In addition, the BAMF also has a division for ‘Operative management of asylum procedures and integration’ which ‘analyses developments and trends so that it is possible to recognise and react to a need to act for management at an early date’, according to the BAMF.  In particular, the decision-making practices of the different branch offices are monitored and branch offices with significant deviations from the overall protection rates are asked to provide further information on the treated cases to the BAMF headquarters. The results of this monitoring and the case outcomes are not made public by the BAMF automatically, but are regularly requested and published through parliamentary enquiries.
 Federal Government, Response to information request by The Left, 20/4019, 12 October 2022, 51.
 Federal Government, Response to information request by The Left, 20/2309, 17 June 2022, 12-14.
 See for the second half of 2021: Federal Government, Response to information request by The Left, 20/2309, 17 June 2022, 12-14.