Enhancing cooperation among the Prague Process states

On 10-12 October 2023, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees of Germany (BAMF) in Nuremberg hosted a Prague Process Study Visit. This visit constituted the first activity of Thematic Component 3 (Asylum/Labour migration), bringing together asylum practitioners, decision-makers and policy officials responsible for asylum from 13 countries. It provided a comprehensive insight into the work of the BAMF, incl. the legislative framework, institutional setting, operational practices and various innovative approaches to overcome the manifold challenges confronted.

After introducing the BAMF’s history, tasks and responsibilities – ranging from asylum requests to integration, labour migration, voluntary returns and international cooperation - the Agency presented its current migration challenges and corresponding capacities. With over 8,000 employees, the BAMF probably represents the biggest asylum agency in Europe.

Participants learned about the Skilled Immigration Act of 2023 and the related EU legislation in this field (e.g. Blue Card, Visa Code). They were introduced to the National Programme for Language Acquisition (GPS), which provides integration and vocational language courses, including for specific professions. The BAMF also presented different technical applications used in the asylum procedure, such as the Language and Dialect Identification Assistance System (DIAS), web-based transcription service and various digital filing and planning tools facilitating the everyday work and coordination among the BAMF’s numerous branch offices.

The visit to the Branch Office in Zirndorf provided an overview of its tasks and responsibilities, including all stages of the asylum process and the division of responsibilities between the branch offices, Länder and municipalities. It provided ample space for questions and answers, including the role of translators, the court appeal procedure, document verification and specific cases relating to applicants’ status.

The final day served to introduce the BAMF’s cooperation with international organisation, it’s work within the European Migration Network (EMN) and role of GDISC Secretariat. Moreover, various international cooperation projects supporting the EU’s external dimension on migration were presented. These ranged from capacity and institution-building in third countries to the prevention of secondary movements and the cooperation with diaspora organisations on reintegration.