German government statistics show that more than 600,000 refugees seeking asylum have failed to make a formal application to remain in country and the government doesn’t know where they are.
Slow processing of asylum applications may account for some of the missing. And there’s a good chance that many refugees have left Germany for other European countries.
Another possible explanation is that some refugees have applied many times, looking to get sent to the city of their choice.
The system, operated by the German Ministry For Migration And Refugees, aims to provide urgent first assistance to new arrivals by spreading them around the country based on a quota system.
Once the applicant’s county of origin has been taken, officials assign the refugee a place where they are to be cared for, and where they can then make an application for asylum.
It is the responsibility of the location and state where they are assigned to care for them, and provide accommodation.
North Rhine Westphalia, which includes Cologne, takes far more of the immigrants than any other part of Germany with 21 per cent, whereas Bremen takes the least with less than 1 per cent. In the capital Berlin it is just over 5 per cent.
The asylum seeker is then expected to make their application for asylum once they arrive at the end state destination.
But of those refugees, only 476,649 – 326,529 men and 150,120 women – have so far gone through with the process and registered for asylum.
That means more than 600,000 are unaccounted for.
According to Dr Neymanns, the main objective of EASY is to provide the basics that refugees from a war-torn country would need, namely a roof over their head and food.
He said: ‘It is entirely possible that if somebody doesn’t like where they are being sent, that they simply re-apply again later in order to get sent somewhere else.
‘Many prefer to be in the big cities, and it might also be that they want to be sent somewhere they know they have contacts or relatives.’
He said that delays in the processing of applications meant that there may be many people in asylum seeker centres who had not been able to make their application yet because of the backlog, and therefore it was difficult to know an exact figure for how many of the 600,000 were still in Germany but not yet registered.
Most of this appears to be bureaucratic red tape gone amok. But of particular concern to the entire continent should be that unknown number of refugees who hit the road after making it to Germany in order to settle somewhere else.