644 asylum applications by Gambians in Germany

Feb 17, 2021, 12:46 PM | Article By: Sanna Camara

Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (Bundesministeriumfür Migration und Flüchtlinge - BAMF) revealed that 644 asylum applications by Gambian nationals in Germany were open in 2020.

This means that this figure represents applications in line for processing during the year under review. At least 85 asylum applications have been granted for Gambians during the past year, representing an increase to 7% in the overall positive outcomes of application decisions.

According to this official source, there were also 1, 216 decisions of previous cases of Gambian nationals, including past refusals who, for example, appealed the asylum decisions.

“The percentage of granted [asylum] protections is not zero, and also never has been. However, in past years, Gambian acceptance rates has been among the lowest for Sub-Saharan African countries, while being one of the quickest rising communities quantitatively,” a German NGO migration expert said of this, noting that quantitatively, Gambia enjoys many more negative decisions than other country cases.

However, what is interesting besides the acceptance rate not being “zero” is the fact that the share of granted asylum protections has on average been rising, even since 2016/2017.This is in contrast to the German perception of “established Gambian democracy permits protection”– this also means a growing perception that asylum applications still get accepted despite the fact that The Gambia is now a full-fledged democracy – being the reason many sought asylum in that country.

Here are the percentages for past years, as published by BAMF:

2014: 2%

2015: 2.7%

2016: 6.5%

2017: 4.7%

2018: 6.3%

2019: 4.7%

2020: 7%

In a policy brief to German policy makers – an academic researcher on migration in a German University noted this year that rejected asylum seekers and asylum seekers with a “low perspective to a legal status” all  face difficult access opportunities onto the regular labour market in Germany.

Asylum seekers “with low perspective to legal status” means a formal category for nationals with an asylum protection rate of less than 50% in Germany.

“That is not least to the laws that exclude these categories from state-funded language courses and do not actively support or even prohibit their integration into employment and apprenticeships,” the author wrote in the brief.

Despite these realities, more and more Gambian asylum seekers find regular labour in Germany since 2017 (after change in government in The Gambia). There are no official figures released by Germany on each nationality in the migrant job market, but the research done by the said university into Gambian migrant communities reveal that an overall 42% of all Gambian nationals in Germany followed a regular job in 2018.

“That is 12 percentage points more than before 2012. That [also] shows that asylum seekers with a ‘low perspective to legal status’ in fact can gain ground in the German labourmarkets… Considering the fact that total immigration numbers rose during said period, it also shows that even in times of higher immigration, a successful migrant integration into the labour market is possible,” the brief indicated.

Some 40 percent of Gambian migrants are currently holding “comprehensive jobs” in Germany. 

The German Statistics Agency “DESTATIS” and the German Federal Agency for Employment “BundesagenturfürArbeit” revealed over 7,000 of the 16,000 Gambians in Germany currently hold jobs.

Because of the high numbers of Gambian migrants (over 50%) not allowed to work or go to school, many are also compelled to turn to the streets for alternative incomes.

About 60% of these migrants hold no jobs and therefore dependent on social welfare benefits from the states they live in. They make little incomes in the informal markets, without social security, health insurance or pension benefit (unskilled and low skill workers).

According to official statistics, the number of Gambians registered with an employment contract between 2012 and 2019 increased from 34% to 40%. Out of 3,587 Gambian migrants in 2012, only 1,209 were employed – representing 34% total, compared to the 40 per cent of today.