If you'd asked a typical German a year ago to identify BAMF.....they would have just looked at you and said they had no idea. Generally, with various news reports....Germans at least know the identification of the organization: Federal Office for the Migration and Refugees.
ARD (German state-run Channel One) ran a brief piece on BAMF last night.
If you want asylum, immigration or 'status' in Germany....BAMF is the one and only organization which handles the paperwork and does approvals. They are based out of Nuremberg for the most part, although there are annex offices throughout the country as well.
Total number of employees? Well, that's where the story got interesting last night. It's between 500 and 600 employees.....to handle the casework for 800,000-odd folks this year and still another 250,000-odd thousand left over from last year.
You can do the math as many ways as you want.....but they are severely under-powered. This all leads to most folks being on a waiting list for approval or disapproval for roughly six months. This means you stay in the temporary quarters, which really aren't made for a lengthy stay.
The fix? BAMF realized this several months ago and asked for more employees....especially decision-makers. So, the government authorized them to hire 2,000 more people. What ARD hinted out by the end of the news episode is that BAMF actually needs roughly 9,000 people to do the job quickly and efficiently. My take on the 'quick and efficient' reference is that some folks ought to appear on a Monday and fill out the paperwork, ID them as economic refugees, and by Friday.....disapprove them and have them on the bus or plane back home by Saturday.
At the end of the whole piece.....the BAMF folks admitted their goal is to have the process done on a submitted package in three months.
I'm a process guy, and I sat there hoping that they'd take two minutes out to explain how the whole process works. Sadly, ARD didn't care to push things to that level. Maybe as time goes by....ARD will wake up and ask a few stupid questions about the process.
Just standing back and observing how things have gone, there's several stumbling blocks in the way. With the large number of folks who've arrived in the last six months.....German-run camps are springing up left and right. There are indicators that the numbers aren't drifting downward, and some folks beyond the normal list of countries now realize that migration is possible and Germany might have a huge door opening up. It's possible by spring that another 500,000 will have passed and by the end of 2016.....a total of one million or more will have attempted to enter Germany for the year.
Frustrations will start to be a daily event in some camps as people have patiently waited a month in less-than-ideal conditions, and then realize that it might be five more months minimum before they get approved. What happens to the crowd when they start to see disapprovals (economic refugees)? Things will go very negative. You can figure some internal demonstrations, hunger strikes, and people attempting to escape the camp and make their way to Denmark or France for a second chance.
Generally, if you get disapproved for Germany.....then it's a done deal and attempting to show up in France won't get you much of anything.
Oddly, out of the million-odd people in some waiting status.....there's one American (down in Bavaria). His deal? He was an US Army guy who claims asylum because he didn't want to deploy with his German-based Army unit. He's been in the camp situation for over five years. Yeah, he's special because the Germans really don't want to approve his status, but they can't figure out a nice way of saying he has to go.
BAMF has an impossible job.....if you ask me.