The term “refugee crisis in Europe” has recently been on the top of political agenda of European Parliament as well as some of the individual European member states, such as Germany and Greece. Most of the European member states refer to the influx of refugees as a crisis and consider it an important political topic that needs to be addressed seriously both at national and the EU level.
According to EUROSTAT1 (2016), Afghans are the second largest group of refugees after the Syrians and they are consequently considered to be the second largest contributors to the refugee crisis in Europe in recent years. In 2015, the number of Afghan asylum seekers in Europe has shown an increase of approximately five times as compared to previous years. Based on the latest data from EUROSTAT, Afghan asylum seekers make 21% of total new asylum applicants in Germany after the Syrians, which accounted for 30% in the third quarter of 2016 and has slightly reduced in the following years.
Germany and some other EU members consider the so called “European refugee crisis” a serious problem and emphasize the need for strategies to ensure a better integration of refugees who qualify for staying in Germany on the one hand, and for immediate return of other refugees, both voluntarily and involuntarily. For instance, Germany has since mid-2016 started the forced deportation of failed asylum seekers to Kabul, Afghanistan.
Although there is a large coverage of literature on migration and refugee studies globally, Afghan refugees in general and specifically in Germany have received very little attention in the academic literature so far, even though they constituted the largest refugee population until 2013, and the second largest refugee population around the world since 2014. The major justification for this study is addressing this knowledge gap regarding Afghan migration, which persists in spite of the considerable numbers of Afghans migrating to Europe and specifically to Germany and in spite of the challenges in their integration process into host societies and the increasing concerns regarding the return of Afghan refugees. This study aims to conduct an in-depth qualitative research with main focus on Afghan refugees in Germany. To make a comparative perspective possible, Syrian refugee in Germany will also be considered to identify similarities and differences between Afghan and Syrian refugees regarding their integration process in Germany.