Germany will introduce a national test to help assess asylum seekers who want to return home, a senior government official said on Friday, as the country struggles to cope with the flood of migrants arriving on its shores.
“We need to know if we have enough applicants,” Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich said during a visit to the city of Essen to unveil the new national test.
“And if we don’t have enough candidates, we need to find the people who want asylum,” he said.
Germany’s federal government is planning to introduce an asylum test as part of an ambitious plan to ease overcrowding in the country’s overcrowded prisons.
It is aiming to introduce the national test in 2019, and it is expected to be rolled out across the country later this year.
A number of German states, including Bavaria, Saxony-Anhalt and Baden-Wuerttemberg, already use a national testing system for refugees.
But the plan is being seen as an attempt to speed up the process of finding new applicants and to boost the countrys capacity to take in more asylum seekers.
“It’s a big change in the asylum system and we need it to be fully operational, because we are in an emergency,” said Friedrich.
The government has faced criticism for not adequately responding to the crisis, with some critics calling for a full national testing regime.
“The national test is one of the first steps in a new and long-term policy to make sure that our country can deal with the situation and manage the flow of refugees,” said Christian Rehm, a member of the Bavarian parliamentary commission that is investigating the asylum crisis.