German authorities do not know where as many as 130,000 asylum seekers are, the government said in a parliamentary document reviewed by the Agency France Presse on Friday.
Out of nearly 1.1 million asylum seekers registered in Germany last year, “about 13 percent did not turn up at the reception centres to which they had been directed,” the government said in a written reply to a question from a lawmaker of the Left Party, according to AFP.
Officials speculated that some individuals may have traveled to other countries, returned to their home countries, or gone underground. They also warned that some individuals may have been registered more than once, skewing the numbers.
A spokesman for the interior ministry said a package of new measures approved by parliament on Thursday should help officials to keep better track of migrant’s whereabouts.
The measures would see migrants issued an identity document upon their arrival, which would allow authorities to maintain a database of each asylum seeker’s personal information to help avoid repeat registrations.
The new rules also loosen the restrictions on deporting convicted migrants — a key issue that was raised after hundreds of women reported being sexually assaulted by migrants during New Year’s Eve celebrations in Cologne.