Germany will begin accelerating deportations for migrants who “have no claim” to be in the country in order to focus efforts on refugees from worn-torn countries, government officials have said.
New measures aiming to fast track asylum and extradition procedures for migrants from southeastern Europe, and concentrate on refugees from countries such as Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, could begin as early as next week, rather than 1 November as previously anticipated.
Peter Altmaier, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief of staff, said: “We want to get better and faster this year at the deportation of rejected applicants who have no claim to remain here,” Reuters reported.
Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier have also launched an initiative to speed up the deportation of unsuccessful asylum applicants from the Balkans.
A joint letter from Mr de Maiziere and Mr Steinmeier to the foreign ministers of six Balkan countries, seen by Reuters, asked them to accept “laissez-passer” documents, or paperwork issued to unsuccessful asylum seekers.
The tighter deportation restrictions are amoung a number of tough new measures Ms Merkel’s government has unveiled to deter economic migrants.
Under new plans Luftwaffe pilots will be made available to fly military transport planes to ferry economic migrants from Germany back to so-called “safe” countries such as Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro.
The country is also due to end its previous policy of delaying the return of "unwelcome" migrants during the winter. Legal rights enabling migrants to challenge deportation orders will also be curbed.
Government figures released last week show there are currently 193,500 economic migrants in Germany who authorities have failed to return home after their applications had been rejected.
Last month, more than 40 per cent of Germany’s migrants were reported to have come from recently deemed “safe” countries.
The deportation drive comes in the wake of mounting criticism of Ms Merkel's open-door refugee policy.
Germany is currently facing its biggest refugee crisis since the Second World War and is expecting more than 800,000 migrants and refugees this year, by far the most in the European Union.
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