Frank-Jürgen Weise

Doing A Double Shift

refugee office sept 21 getty
Line of refugees wait outside the office for migration in Berlin on Sept 21. The backlog of applications must be Mr. Weise's first order of business.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    The unprecedented number of refugees pouring into Germany requires the country’s refugee agency to become a lot more efficient to deal with hundreds of thousands of asylum applications.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • Mr. Weise earned a reputation for efficiency at the labor office, where he digitized the whole operation and introduced reforms that will reduce the number of employees by 17,000 by 2017.
    • The office for migration and refugees is antiquated and finds it difficult to keep up with immigration crisis – as many as 300,000 asylum applications are still on hold.
    • With a contract through 2017 and strong political backing, it’s likely Mr. Weise will keep both jobs for the next two years.
  • Audio

    Audio

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Observers were skeptical last week, when speculation began to spread that Frank-Jürgen Weise would be the new president of the German federal office for migration and refugees, or BAMF.

Why, people asked, should Mr. Weise, 63, trade the federal labor office, or BA, for the much smaller refugee office? After all, he presently has more than 100,000 employees working under him and with the current economic situation, finding work for people certainly isn’t the worst of jobs.

So, was the post at the labor office simply too good to exchange for the refugee agency? It appears so, as Mr. Weise now is in charge of both offices.

It is convenient that both offices are in Nuremberg. And while the labor office staff is being reduced because of strong employment numbers, the refugee office desperately is seeking workers to handle the flood of paperwork. Up to 300,000 asylum applications are stacked up in the government agency.

In an announcement to the press Minister of the Interior Thomas de Maiziere said on Friday, “Mr. Weise is among the most experienced and best agency heads we have in Germany, among the best public managers.”

A short time later, the minister of labor and social affairs, Andrea Nahles, spoke of Mr. Weise’s extensive experience, adding he was “just the one who could take on even more.”

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