Germany is reportedly working on a plan to send some asylum seekers to Africa while their applications are in progress. According to the Wall Street Journal, Berlin is considering reaching out to governments in Kenya, Ghana, Senegal, Morocco, and other African countries to accommodate asylum seekers during the often lengthy processing period.
Some of the steps being explored could include permanent resettlement in these countries for individuals who do not qualify for refugee status in Germany. Additionally, the plan might also aim to persuade those eligible for protection to settle in alternate nations.
Unnamed officials cited by the WSJ disclosed that Chancellor Olaf Scholz, along with his top staff and key ministers, has been actively engaged in discussions about redirecting refugee flows through Africa. Plans are reportedly being formulated to propose agreements with various African governments.
The potential shift in Germany’s migration policy comes on the heels of an announcement by Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, who revealed intentions to establish reception centers for asylum seekers in Albania. She promoted this agreement as a potential model for cooperation between EU and non-EU countries in managing refugee flows.
However, while some European countries are looking to relocate asylum seekers to Africa, not all parties are in favor of such plans. The International Rescue Committee (IRC) criticized Italy and Albania for prioritizing prevention of arrivals in the EU over creating safe and legal avenues for refugees. The IRC also expressed concern about the dehumanizing nature of viewing migrants as subjects for “processing.”
Meanwhile, the UK is embroiled in a legal battle to secure approval for the transfer of asylum seekers to Rwanda. Despite facing resistance due to legal challenges, the UK High Court is expected to make a final decision on the matter next week.
Strains on Germany’s immigration system have been compounded by the influx of asylum seekers and over one million Ukrainian refugees fleeing the conflict in their own country. Many local German authorities have reportedly reached their full capacity and are no longer in a position to accommodate irregular migrants. With the number of asylum seekers anticipated to surpass 300,000 in 2023, the existing situation presents a significant challenge for the country.
In light of these developments, the proposal to shift some asylum seeker flows to third countries in Africa is being viewed as a potential way to alleviate the strain on Germany’s immigration system. While negotiations are ongoing, the ultimate outcome and implementation of such a plan will depend on the willingness of African nations to participate and the extent to which it addresses the evolving refugee crisis in Europe.