2016-12-28 18:36:00

Record numbers of migrants leave Germany in 2016

(Vatican Radio) Official figures show that a record 55,000 migrants, many of them fleeing poverty and wars, have left Germany voluntarily this year - more than twice the number deported. It comes mounting tensions in Europe over the influx of refugees. 

Listen to the report by Stefan Bos:

Data over the period January through November from the Germany's Federal Office for Migration and Refugees shows that tens of thousands of migrants have left the country voluntarily. 

Most of them went back to the Balkans. Albanians formed the largest group of some 15,000 people followed by about an equal number of people returning to nearby Kosovo, Serbia and Macedonia.

Germany saw large numbers of people from Balkan nations, who had slim chances of being granted asylum, arrive in early 2015.

Yet there are also at least 5,000 migrants who have returned to Iraq and more than 3,000 to Afghanistan, despite reports of ongoing attacks by Islamic militants in those nations, including against Christians and moderate Muslims.   


German authorities revealed Wednesday that the government approved funding for some 55,000 migrants to return to their  homelands this year, paving the way for a significant increase in voluntary departures.

That is more than twice the nearly 24,000 who were forcibly deported from Germany.

It comes amid mounting public resentment towards migrants fleeing war and poverty following several attacks linked to Islamic militants, including the recent Christmas Market attack in Berlin that killed 12 people and injured nearly 50 others. 

German chancellor Angela Merkel has come under political pressure over her open-doors policy towards refugees as the country registered last year about 900,000 asylum seekers. 

While she agree with stricter policies towards migrants, Merkel has made clear she wants Germany to remain a country that provides shelter to the most vulnerable people fleeing war-stricken nations such as Syria.   

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