The German government does not know the whereabouts of around 13 per cent of the refugees who entered the country last year.
Following a demand from the German Left Party, authorities released a parliamentary document on Friday that said 130,000 people who registered for asylum last year are missing, the AFP reports.
“About 13 per cent did not turn up at the reception centres to which they had been directed,” the document stated, while explaining that some might have returned to their home countries, moved on to other European countries, and some could have also registered more than once.
The government announced plans to help address the problem, which include issuing identity documents as soon as a migrant arrives to Germany thus avoiding repeated registration.
In 2015, Germany accepted over one million asylum seekers, shouldering most of the refugee crisis hitting Europe. The large numbers of migrants coming into the country have caused Angela Merkel’s popularity to drop dramatically as people have started to resent her “open-door” policy.
Fears that criminals and terrorists could hide among the crowds of thousands of migrants coming to Europe have also gripped the public, especially since reports have shown that most of the men behind the November 13 attacks in Paris came to the continent with refugees.
German authorities have started implementing new rules to deal with the huge number of migrants, which include restricting family reunions, beefing up deportation of migrants who do not qualify for asylum, and the expulsion of convicted foreigners — a measure that was proposed after the New Year’s rampage in Cologne, where hundreds of women reported being sexually assaulted and robbed by a crowd of mostly migrant men.
In the absence of a unified response from the European Union to the crisis and no end in sight for the conflict in Syria, Germany is likely to keep receiving large numbers of migrants fleeing war and poverty.
According to data from the UNHCR, more than 120,000 migrants have already reached European shores this year, and 410 people have died while attempting the perilous crossing of the Aegean Sea. In January, 66,233 people arrived to Europe by sea, compared with just 5,550 in January 2015.