McKinsey helps Germany deal with the refugee crisis

07 October 2015 3 min. read

Germany has seen a considerable number of refugees reach its boarders in recent months as conflict in the Middle East sees many of its people flee for the safety of Europe. To better process the arriving asylum seekers, a recent German bill seeks to change how refugees are greeted and processed in the country. As part of the implementation of the bill, the German Government has turned to McKinsey & Company to provide support in IT and decrease the processing time of asylum seekers from seven months to two.

After a number of interventions in the Middle East, and with a civil war that continues to fester in Syria, a tide of humanity has sought to find shelter from the storm of bullets in Europe. Since August of this year, the number of refugees reaching European boarders, from Syria in particular, has increased considerably. From the start of 2015, around 395,000 new asylum applications were lodged in EU member states. The year’s total is expected to be considerably higher however, with 150,000 applications lodged in August alone.

The arrival of a large number of refugees since August has presented the EU member states with considerable public and institutional difficulties. September saw boarder checks instantiated indiscriminately as Germany, after a period of influx from refugees stuck in Hungry, sought to stem the tide. High-level talks held among affected EU states tried to create a consensus about how to provide place for the people, with a recent agreement to relocate up to 120,000 migrants arriving in Greece and Italy over the next two years.

Refugee crisis

Processing asylum applications in many countries involves a considerable bureaucratic load; with the human cost for applicants a considerable waiting period as their fate is decided. In Germany the current coalition has produced a bill to streamline the refugee and asylum process, through reforms to how asylum seekers are received and to their economic rights. The draft bill provides for relaxations in planning law so as to speed up the creation of refugee camps, as well as remove the condition that refuges are sent back to the country in which they first arrived for processing. The new laws also create scope for the fast integration of those whom have been granted asylum into German society and working life, while those that fail to meet asylum criteria will be quickly deported.

McKinsey helps Germany deal with the refugee crisis

McKinsey & Company
To support the implementation of the proposed new law, the German Government has sought advice from McKinsey & Company. According to reports, the consulting firm will work support the Germany’s BAMF (Federal Office for migrants and refugees), to clear a backlog of more than 270,000 asylum applications and try to shorten the asylum process from seven months per applicant to two months. The streamlining of the process will involve the rollout of a new IT line that improves information sharing between departments, as well as make changes to internal procedures and improve the language barriers, through the re-thinking of language courses among others.

McKinsey is not the first management consulting firm to provide support for those affected by the crisis. Oliver Wyman recently launched a programme to help talented refuges enter its ranks.