More than a million refugees arrived in Germany in 2015, out of which 441,000 formally applied for asylum, German interior minister said Wednesday.
Among the 1.1 million refugees, Syrians were the largest group with 428,000, followed by 154,000 Afghans and 121,000 Iraqis.
Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said Germany was facing its biggest refugee crisis since the Second World War.
“With more than 476,649 applications last year, we have had the highest number of asylum applications in Germany so far. The number of people who arrived in Germany with the goal of applying for asylum is much higher,” De Maiziere said in a press release.
The EU’s largest economy received 202,834 asylum applications in 2014; almost 47,000 of the asylum seekers were Syrians.
As the conflicts in Middle East have deepened in 2015, Germany has received hundreds of thousands of refugees; thousands more are expected to make their applications in 2016.
Some refugees are believed to have travelled to the other EU member states but authorities could not give an exact number, due to the border-free travel between Germany and other EU member states.
De Maiziere said the federal government will continue its efforts to provide shelter to asylum seekers who fled civil wars and conflicts, and said the government would employ 4,000 new officials at Germany’s immigration authority BAMF to deal with the workload.
He also promised financial support to the federal states and local communities in order to help them accommodate the refugees, and said a monthly €670 contribution per asylum seeker would be made.
In Germany, local authorities and municipalities bear the main responsibility for accommodating asylum seekers. As the country received a record number of refugees in recent months, local authorities started to face problems in covering costs.
Far-right groups oppose allocating money for the asylum centers and argue the money should be used for the needs of local residents or German homeless people.