14 Jan Statement of the AStA of the University of Duisburg-Essen on the grievances in the immigration office in Essen
Based on the input of numerous international students, we would like to take this opportunity to join in the comprehensive criticism of the structure and working methods of the immigration office in Essen because it is an inevitable point of contact for the international students at our university. The following main points of criticism emerge from various field reports of those affected:
The waiting times are too long
If students have to wait for up to six months for an appointment, they cannot take care of the essential tasks of everyday student life. This includes setting up blocked accounts for the necessary extension of a visa, starting contractual work or signing rental contracts. We thus support the demands for the expansion of internal official resources and a faster allocation of appointments!
When students finally get an appointment after this long waiting period, they only receive a “Fiktionsbescheinigung” instead of a renewed residence permit. The “Fiktionsbescheinigung” is only temporary and does not grant right of residence. In addition to the constant concern about their stay in Germany and at our university, this also results in difficulties in finding work, in extending existing employment contracts, and in great uncertainty when entering and leaving the country for family visits in the country of origin.
High blocking sums to ensure “subsistence in Germany”
While students from non-EU countries are generally not entitled to BAföG, the Essen immigration office requires proof of a blocked account that contains 10,000 euros in order to ensure that these students are self-sufficient. This selective additional financial burden can make it impossible for students with a low income to study at our university. We want to know why it is not possible to use a regular employment contract as proof (as practiced in Bochum before). Also, a combined solution of proof of employment contract and blocking sum would be okay.
Unfriendly to dismissive treatment in dealings with authorities
In many cases, there were reports of derogatory comments and a generally unfriendly way of communication on the part of official personnel. Many feel harassed and belittled by such behavior – as if they were unwanted in the office. Stress and overload (which we also criticize, see above) must not lead to bad manners and a feeling of being unwelcome.
We look forward to a comprehensive and solution-oriented statement from the Essen immigration office!