Number of staff and nature of the first instance authority


Country Report: Number of staff and nature of the first instance authority Last updated: 05/06/24


Teresa Fachinger, Paula Hoffmeyer-Zlotnik and Marlene Stiller
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) 8,447 positions (7,355 full-time positions in various asylum departments) Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community No

Source: Information provided by the BAMF, up to date as of 15 December 2023.


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 February 2024, the BAMF website lists a total of 58 branch offices.[1] 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, while some branch offices work exclusively on Dublin cases). Branch offices are assigned specific countries of origin, whereas the main countries of origin are processed in the majority of branch offices.[2] 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 November 2023, the BAMF had 7.355 positions or “full-time job equivalents” working on various aspects of asylum (meaning that the actual number of staff is 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 and Community and Community.[3]

The government provided the following numbers for positions in the relevant departments as of November 2023:[4]

  • asylum department (excluding revocation and Dublin procedures): 2,327.9 full-time equivalents;
  • revocation procedures: 105.2 full-time equivalents;
  • procedures (appeal procedures, representation of the BAMF in court): 376.0 full-time equivalents;
  • quality management: 141.0 full-time equivalents;
  • Dublin-procedures: 338.4 full-time equivalents.

The BAMF also has special officers for security issues. They are responsible for a whole range of issues and should be involved in asylum procedures whenever indications arise for instances of ‘extremism, terrorism, criminality, human trafficking, war crimes, crimes against humanity and smuggling of human beings’.[5] The special officers for security issues act as contact points between the BAMF and other authorities, but they do not necessarily take part in interviews or take over responsibility of particular asylum procedures.


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.[6] This was related, in part, to the high increase in personnel in 2015 and 2016 – likely due to the spike in asylum applications –, 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.[7] 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.[8] 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.[9]




[1] BAMF, Locations, available at:

[2] A list of all countries of origin and the allocated branch offices is available on the website of the Refugee Council of Lower Saxony (up to date as of March 20221):

[3] Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community, ‘Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge’, available in German at:

[4] Federal Government, Response to information request by The Left, 20/9933, 28 December 2023, available in German at:, 30-31.

[5] BAMF, Entscheiderbrief (newsletter for decision-makers) 4/2020, 1.

[6] For more detailed information, see AIDA, Country Report Germany – Update on the year 2019, July 2020, available at:, 20-21.

[7] BAMF, Procedure management and quality assurance, 28 November 2018, available at:

[8] Federal Government, Response to information request by The Left, 20/2309, 17 June 2022, available in German at:, 12-14.

[9] See for the second half of 2022: Federal Government, Response to parliamentary question by The Left 20/8222, 5 September 2023, available in German at:, 12-13.

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation