Hesse: Frankfurt Immigration Office: flood of inquiries and shortage of staff

Frankfurt/Main (dpa/lhe) - The immigration office in Frankfurt is struggling with thousands of unanswered inquiries and a lack of staff.

Hesse: Frankfurt Immigration Office: flood of inquiries and shortage of staff

Frankfurt/Main (dpa/lhe) - The immigration office in Frankfurt is struggling with thousands of unanswered inquiries and a lack of staff. The authority currently has 15,000 open inquiries on a wide variety of topics, very often it is about residence permits, explained Norbert Euler, department head of the immigration authority, on Wednesday in Frankfurt. The flood of applications is currently unmanageable. "Our employees are at the limit of what is affordable," said the head of the Frankfurt regulatory office, Karin Müller.

City Councilor Annette Rinn (FDP) explained that the number of foreigners had risen significantly: After the refugee crisis of 2015/2016, the authority had a constantly increasing number of cases due to Brexit and now the Ukraine crisis. "It's not a Frankfurt phenomenon. Like many immigration authorities, we're chasing developments."

The increasing number of cases is offset by a tense personnel situation. Although 30 new positions have been created since 2016, it is very difficult to fill them, explained Euler. Of a total of 159 positions in the immigration office, 23 positions are currently vacant.

He sees the reasons for this in a "very high workload" and "increasing complexity of the work". New laws or changes in the law, as well as countless variants of the residence permit, not only led to longer processing times, but also ever higher demands on the employees. This also leads to high sick leave rates. The training of new employees takes about one to two years.

In addition to the further search for personnel, the processes in the authority are also to be changed. At the beginning of 2023, only complete documents should be able to be submitted online. "We hope that this will result in a significant reduction in inquiries," said Euler. "And it would reduce the processing time per case." The foreigners authority also hopes that the federal government will simplify procedures in the future in order to reduce the effort and processing time.

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