Safe country of origin

Germany

Country Report: Safe country of origin Last updated: 30/11/20

Author

Informationsverbund Asyl und Migration Visit Website

The Constitution defines as safe countries of origin the countries “in which, on the basis of their laws, enforcement practices and general political conditions, it can be safely concluded that neither political persecution nor inhuman or degrading punishment or treatment exists”.[1]

List of safe countries of origin

Member states of the European Union are by definition considered to be safe countries of origin.[2] The list of safe countries of origin is an addendum to the law and has to be adopted by both chambers of the Parliament. If the situation in a safe country of origin changes and it can no longer be considered to be safe within the meaning of the law, the Federal Government may issue a decree to remove this country from the list for a period of 6 months.

At present, the list of safe countries consists of:

  • Ghana;
  • Senegal;
  • Serbia;
  • North Macedonia;
  • Bosnia-Herzegovina;
  • Albania;
  • Kosovo;
  • Montenegro.

Serbia, North Macedonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina were added to the list following the entry into force of a law on 6 November 2014.[3] Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro were added with another law which took effect on 24 October 2015.[4]

A draft law was introduced by the government in April 2016 with the aim of adding the so-called Maghreb states (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia) to the list of safe countries of origin.[5] However, the law required the approval of the second chamber of parliament (Bundesrat) which rejected the designation of the three countries on 10 March 2017.[6] Another attempt to add these countries to the list was made in 2018, but the draft bill was removed from the Bundesrat’s agenda in February 2019 as it became obvious that it would be rejected again. Removal from the agenda does not mean that the bill has failed, but that it can be reintroduced at a later date.[7]  No further developments were reported in 2019 however.

Procedural consequences

Applications of asylum seekers from safe countries of origin shall be considered as manifestly unfounded, unless the applicant presents facts or evidence which justify the conclusion that he or she might be persecuted in spite of the general situation in the country of origin.

Since March 2016, accelerated procedures can be carried out for applicants from safe countries of origin (see Accelerated Procedure). 

However, this is only possible in branch offices of the BAMF to which a “special reception centre” has been assigned. Only two of these centres were established in 2016 (in Bamberg and Manching/Ingolstadt) and in both locations, both accelerated and regular procedures can be carried out. No exact figures were provided as to how many accelerated procedures had actually taken place in these centres. Therefore, it can be concluded that the introduction of accelerated procedures has only had a minimal impact on procedures in general so far. Most procedures from applicants from safe countries of origin are still examined in the regular procedure.

Numbers of applications from asylum seekers from safe countries of origin decreased dramatically in recent years and have remained on a low level in 2019. The following table shows statistics for asylum applications by relevant nationalities:

:Asylum applications by nationals of “safe countries of origin”

 

2016

2017

2018

2019

Albania

17,236

6,089

2,941

2,573

Serbia

10,273

4,915

2,606

2,718

North Macedonia

7,015

4,758

2,472

2,258

Kosovo

6,490

2,403

1,224

875

Bosnia and Herzegovina

3,109

1,438

870

633

Ghana

2,645

1,134

992

966

Montenegro

1,630

730

377

252

Senegal

767

378

366

365

Total

49,165

21,845

11,848

10,640

Source: BAMF, Asylgeschäftsstatistik (statistics on applications, decisions and pending procedures), 1-12/2019, available in German at: https://bit.ly/38DEdqJ.

 

It should be noted that many asylum applications of persons from safe countries of origin are subsequent applications (e.g. 34.2% for Albania, 58% for Serbia and 50.5% for North Macedonia). Hence the number of newly arriving asylum seekers from these countries is considerably lower than the numbers provided above.

To illustrate the developments of protection rates of “safe countries of origin”, the following table includes decisions on first applications from Albania, Serbia and North Macedonia. The figures include all cases in which refugee status, subsidiary protection or (national) humanitarian protection/prohibition of deportation was granted:

 

Recognition rates for nationals of selected “safe countries of origin”

 

2016

2017

2018

2019

Albania

0.4%

1.8%

1.2%

0.9%

North Macedonia

0.4%

1%

0.8%

0.2%

Serbia

0.4%

1%

0.7%

0.1%

Source: BAMF, Antrags-, Entscheidungs- und Bestandsstatistik, 2016, 2017 and 2018 and Asylgeschäftsstatistik (statistics on applications, decisions and pending procedures), 1-12/2019, available at: https://bit.ly/38DEdqJ.



[1]  Article 16a(3) Basic Law.

[2] Section 29a(2) Asylum Act.

[3] Gesetz zur Einstufung weiterer Staaten als sichere Herkunftsstaaten und zur Erleichterung des Arbeitsmarktzugangs für Asylbewerber und geduldete Ausländer, BGBl. I, No. 49, 5 November 2014, 1649.

[4] Asylverfahrensbeschleunigungsgesetz, BGBl. I, 23 October 2015, 1722.

[5] Entwurf eines Gesetzes zur Einstufung der Demokratischen Volksrepublik Algerien, des Königreichs Marokko und der Tunesischen Republik als sichere Herkunftsstaaten, 68/16, available in German at: http://bit.ly/2kSi5CO.

[6]  Bundesrat, ‘Keine Zustimmung: Gesetz zu sicheren Herkunftsstaaten’, 10 March 2017, available at: http://bit.ly/1owVXpm.

[7] Spiegel, ‘Bundesrat verschiebt Abstimmung über sichere Herkunftsländer’, 15 February 2019, available in German at: https://bit.ly/2urOtiw.

 

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