Berlin: Some 213,000 asylum-seekers have arrived in Germany this year, keeping it on course for a far lower total than last year's 890,000 entrants, the country's interior minister said on Wednesday.
The number of newcomers "is still declining but remains significant," Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said. He said the figure he gave for the first nine months in 2016 reflects the number who "actually registered and entered."
De Maiziere's ministry said 272,185 people were registered in a computer system between January and September as incoming asylum-seekers - including 15,618 in September, in line with the previous five months' figures.
However, that system doesn't register people by name and the figures have been inflated in the past by people registering multiple times. The number registered last year was initially given as nearly 1.1 million.
Asylum applications have lagged well behind arrivals. Many people who came to Germany last year filed applied only in 2016, and nearly 658,000 applications were filed in the year's first nine months. The office that processes them has been beefed up.
De Maiziere said good progress is being made in clearing the application backlog and that, in the last week of September, the migration office for the first time issued more decisions than it received applications.
Just over 60 percent of applicants have been granted asylum.
Through the end of September, more than 60,000 people who didn't receive asylum left Germany or were deported, de Maiziere said, adding "we must get better" at making sure such people do leave....