New bamf chief sommer wants fast asylum procedures

The new head of the federal office for migration and refugees, hans-eckhard sommer, aims for fast asylum procedures.

"We will of course stick to, have to stick to, short asylum procedure times," said sommer during his presentation by federal interior minister horst seehofer (CSU) in berlin. A decision should usually be made within three months. A good quality of procedures is nevertheless important, he said. "I mean, we will get both together."Critics complain that the overburdened office has put speed over quality in the refugee crisis.

According to seehofer, sommer will assume the new function on thursday. This will also mark the end of the term of office of the previous president, jutta cordt, whose departure was announced by the interior ministry the previous week. Cordt should take on new tasks as an official, which have not yet been decided, seehofer said. "There are situations in life where you need a fresh start, so that trust can be restored," he stressed.

Formal decision on sommers appointment to follow later. Until then, the current deputy head of department at the bavarian state office for asylum and repatriations will be seconded to the bamf. The 56-year-old lawyer comes from munster in north rhine-westphalia and worked for the bavarian ministry of the interior for around 21 years. In between, he was on leave for four years to work for the CSU. As a former administrative judge, he has long been familiar with asylum and immigration law, sommer explained.

"I would like the bamf staff to be able to take pride in their work again," said sommer. Many have been unfairly pilloried, even though they are not responsible for the understaffing of the office in the refugee crisis. The fact that the bamf has not collapsed is a great achievement of the then bamf chief frank-jurgen weise. He sees it as one of his first tasks to approach the employees of the authority. In the bamf there is a lot of displeasure, also with the leadership style of the former heads weise and cordt.

Sommer’s "most important task will be to bring together and motivate the bamf staff," seehofer said. The agency needs motivated employees who see themselves as a family. The bamf has come under fire for its possibly dubious asylum decisions in bremen. In the refugee crisis, the office was overwhelmed with the processing of a skyrocketing number of asylum applications and had to hire numerous new employees. Seehofer again presented himself to the authorities and said that he now has the agreement of federal finance minister olaf scholz (SPD) for the deferral of more than 3,000 temporary positions.

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