BERLIN—Germany’s cabinet approved plans to issue asylum seekers a unified identity card linked to a centralized data system in bid to keep better track of who is entering the country.
According to a draft law presented Wednesday, asylum seekers as of early next year will be issued one ID card containing all the information relevant to their asylum request, as opposed to several documents a migrant receives currently in a system that has been widely criticized.
The move highlights how the government is stepping up efforts to better manage the heavy inflow of people and set tighter conditions for asylum seekers as Chancellor Angela Merkel has faced heavy criticism about her open arms migrant policy toward migrants.
“We are creating an ability to steer, a transparency about who is here,” Frank-Jürgen Weise, president of the Office of Migration and Refugees told reporters.
Authorities have been straining under the nearly one million migrants who have sought asylum in the country this year. About 965,000 asylum-seekers came to Germany through November, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière said Monday, a number that has prompted a huge backlog in Germany’s bureaucracy.
Refugees and refugee aid organizations have complained about poor conditions and long waiting hours for migrants in some big cities such as Berlin.
Officials have warned that the current decentralized system leaves room for loopholes, such as migrants registering several times in different states or faking their identity.
The new ID card, which will be in paper, will store information including personal data and fingerprints, medical exams and vaccinations received by a person, information about the asylum status as well as education and qualifications. All administrative offices dealing with migrants—from social security to the job center—will be able to access the information on a centralized system and across different states, the officials said.
Asylum seekers will only be entitled to social benefits and their requests only processed if they have their ID card, said Mr. de Maizière.
New migrants arriving in Germany are dispatched across the 16 states according to an old formula that determines where a refugee should register for asylum by taking into account the state’s tax revenue and population numbers. But not all authorities from different states are currently able to share information about the new arrivals.
With the new ID card and its centralized information-sharing system, all the migrants’ data will be registered at the first place of contact and stored for the next step in the asylum procedure in a bid to speed up registration and time needed to process an asylum request, Mr. de Maizière said.
The government aims to start putting in place the new ID cards from mid February, after a vote on it in parliament.
Source : WSJ