Around every fifth day, the Jesuit Refugee Service makes an application to the Berlin Senate. Then a commission has to decide whether an immigrant can stay. The law says: “urgent humanitarian or personal reasons” must “justify a further stay of the foreigner on federal territory”. In cases of hardship, people can stay – if the Interior Minister approves.
Undocumented people who live in Germany depend on individuals’ good will. On people such as the social worker Golde Ebding who works with the Maltese Migrant Medicine in Berlin. There she supports people who count as illegal. Last year she founded the project “Refugees Welcome” with friends. Via the internet, it houses refugees in shared apartments.
Café 104 is in the middle of the city, between Hohenzollernplatz and the Central Station. It is a place of support for people living in illegality according to the residency law. This is a meeting place for people who are not permitted to be here. Not in Munich, not in Germany.
Undocumented people living in Germany have given up all their rights – in the hope for a better life. That makes many things difficult: employment, their children’s education or health care. They live with the constant fear of discovery and deportation. Hundreds of thousands of people live like this in Germany. Soon, a new law could push even more people into illegality.
Hundreds of thousands of undocumented people live in Germany. The academic Dita Vogel estimates their number at up to half a million. That is greater than the number of people who visit the stadiums on a German Bundesliga match day. They all live without basic rights, work off the books and have no health insurance or pension plan.
If you enter a country without permission, your first step across the border makes you count as illegal. And it stays that way if you never register with the authorities. Follow the story of a Nigerian woman who came to Germany by boat.
If you request asylum in Germany you must be prepared to wait. First you register with the immigration authorities. Where are you from? Why are you seeking refuge in Germany? Then they decide whether you can stay – but that can take a long time. Half a year, a year, or longer. If they reject your application you have to leave the country. Follow the story of a young man from Pakistan who waited over two years for his decision.
If you come to Germany as a foreigner from outside the EU you require a visa. Only a few countries are exempt from this obligation. When you apply for a visa you have to explain why you want to enter the country and prove that you have enough money, that you have health insurance and want to return to your home country. Your visa is always limited. If you overstay your visa you count as illegal. Follow the story of a Colombian who came to Germany to study.
Since the beginning ot the year we have been reporting about the GenerationE – young Southern Europeans who moved to Northern Europe. More than 2400 people filled in our questionnaire which we published in collaboration with several Southern European media organizations. Every few days we introduce you to one of these people on our Tumblr. Now we took a look at the blogs these expats write. They provide an interesting picture of the GenerationE – between pride and prejudice.