Provocative Tagesspiegel piece: Auslaenderbehorde

41 posts in this topic

Hi all,

 

My fiance brought this article home for me to read - I thought some of us might find it interesting. It was in the Tagesspiegel on Monday 5th March. It is about the Auslaenderbehoerde in Berlin: how foreigners are treated like 4th class citizens, the line to get a waiting number outside in the cold early hours of the winter mornings, and the problems that arise from there being too much power given to the workers there to treat everyone differently and make the rules up as they go.

 

For many of us it's nothing new, but it opened my fiance's eyes a bit to why I often come home from that place wanting to smash something.

 

If someone is dedicated enough to provide a translation that'd be great, if not, I might give it a red hot go later this weekend.

 

Auslaenderbehoerde: Wie Buerger vierte Klasse

5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Huh. I have had really good (and increasingly so) experiences there.

 

After they fixed the giving out of numbers, it's been way better than the DMV in the US for me. Perhaps they discriminate based on nationality or numbers needing help? I have certainly never waited in the cold- I just go, get an appointment, and go back when the appointment is. It sucks that you have to go twice, but I took it as a cost of the transaction.

 

I think it's way worse for Germans wanting US visas- when I have gone there, I have seen them standing in line outside the gates in the cold.

4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kind of like going to my Hausarzt at 14:00 to see him with no appointment necessary. People lined up at the door. I go around 16:00 when the rush hour is over.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the great translation, australis82! Much appreciated.

 

I booked an appointment in January for May this year, which will hopefully be a happy and pain free occasion where I take my new marriage certificate (with Apostille, of course!) in, they interview me and my new husband and give me the pretty shiny unlimited work and residency visa for 3 years. Once every 3 years I can handle.

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I live in Berlin and I find the article incredibly biased. Nowhere do they mention that the ABH in Berlin tries to give as many appointments out as possible and that people who have to wait in line are the ones who didn't bother to make an online appointment. Yes, I've waited for hours in line when I forgot to make an appointment, however, it was my own fault.

 

 

Yasemin is one of the immigrants the country needs: female, well-educated in a natural science, with research ambitions. However the foreigners’ office values other things, she says. She completed her entire Masters degree in English, and hardly speaks German. Only some of the case workers speak English, and she is scared of the appointment.

 

 

 

“But I don’t think I’ll put myself through this again.”

 

Right, Germany really needs more immigrants who have no interest in integrating <_< . If she was really interested in staying in Germany, she'd have also started learning German. Obviously her only interest in being here is the lack of tuition fees.

8

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I have certainly never waited in the cold- I just go, get an appointment, and go back when the appointment is. It sucks that you have to go twice,

 

If you made an appointment online, you wouldn't even have to go twice. ;)

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The appointment thing is relatively new (like within the last year) at least for students to be able to use (and it's still only available to certain nationalities), though it does show that they are actually working to improve things. When I first came my experience was very much like that described. I remember thinking that in a country known for its efficiency this must be some sort of exercise in trying to demoralize as many foreigners as possible, it was so unbelievable to me that this was actually the everyday practice. But my last trip was unbelievably smooth compared to my several trips within the first year. Got an appointment, arrived 10 minutes before, waited for maybe 20 minutes and the person who saw me was civil and efficient, if not particularly friendly. SUCH a relief. They are definitely improving. But unless you know that the people mentioned would actually be eligible for the same processes and treatment that you are (based on nationality, status, etc) I wouldn't make any assumptions about their experiences there... There is also one particular Frau there who has made it miserable for anyone who's been lucky enough to get her, getting anyone else would automatically make your experience better I'd say...

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have been pleasantly surprised at the quality of service at the Ausländerbehörde. Each time I need to go I get a letter sent to me a few weeks beforehand with a list of things that I need to bring with me...walk in, get my stamps, walk out. Takes maybe in total, including travel, 2 hours out of my day...not such a stress.

Compared to Munich, the Berlin system is a much slicker outfit.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know how it is Berlin, but I know it is pretty awful here. I have friends here that have shown up more than an hour before the office opens only to be turned away because they won't get served that day. There is no online appointment system, if you call for an appointment no one answers the phone, and they don't reply to their voice mails or emails either. The only reason of them got an appointment was because they wrote to the mayor herself, but doing that doesn't occur to most people and probably would be pretty ineffective if more people did it. Before I became German, I can remember waiting for 3 hours plus to be seen, and it just seems to be getting worse. No one wants to work in the Ausländerbüro, the city even offers the civil servants a pay rise for going there, but they are still really lacking staff.

5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

But unless you know that the people mentioned would actually be eligible for the same processes and treatment that you are (based on nationality, status, etc) I wouldn't make any assumptions about their experiences there...

 

Gail is American (or at least she claims to be, and I've no reason to doubt her) and was therefore among the first groups to profit from the electronic appointment system. Most of the other examples from the article are students, who are also eligible to use it. The ABH even sends out form letters by snail mail reminding foreigners that their permits are expiring and to make an appointment.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is a bit off subject, but don't limit the 4th class status just to the foreign office and trying to get a visa. Try interacting with companies like Deutsche Telekom. Their standard operating procedure is to simply hand up instead of providing customer service and don't be bold enough to challenge them. Good luck with that!!!

3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Try interacting with companies like Deutsche Telekom. Their standard operating procedure is to simply hand up instead of providing customer service and don't be bold enough to challenge them.

 

Why do you think this has anything to do with you being foreign? Telekom is famous for its service (or lack thereof).

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Making an appointment is all well and good if you are flexible enough to wait 3-4 weeks before your questions can be answered. Some problems need to be solved straight away, for example, I had to get a work permit quick smart for a work opportunity jumping in for a sick singer at the opera. That took 3 early winter morning visits in the space of a week. It's also not very useful when you arrive at your appointment to find that your simple request cannot be fulfilled by that particular Sachbearbeiter, and they send you to another part of the building. Then, you start from scratch and potentially you need to come back, as more often than not there will be a document missing that wasn't listed on the list of things you need to bring to the appointment.

 

Having said all that, my "Surnames M-R" (or thereabouts) Sachbearbeiterin is young and not yet jaded, and she's quite good. But on the days when she isn't there, her replacement on the other side of the hall makes things as difficult as possible and treats me with absolute disdain. camilleelise, perhaps it's the same woman.

5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have been here so long that I pre-date electronic appointments.

 

Otoh,in my first visit my younger daughter was running a fever and they very kindly allowed us to leave while my spouse stayed to finish paperwork (which was "against the rule"). But I am well aware, as I said above, that my nationality is privileged. I have been redded before for stating that Germany has quite a bit of xenophobia out there and I see my (visible) privilege clearly. I am also privileged as the spouse of a German citizen who is educated, as my spouse was relatively privileged in the US when I was unhappy with his treatment.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

gail123, what do you mean by pre-dating electronic appointments? Just booking them in advance?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ah, no.

In my day, people at the Behorde actually answered the phone occasionally (they don't any longer) or one made an appointment by e-mail (which I am not certain they answer any longer). If I had an emergency (I lost a passport and needed a new visa in the emergency passport), one could just show up- took me less than an hour. I assume because my alien section is not too crowded.

As I understand it, now one makes appointment on-line, as the US consulate has moved to (it also used to work on the show up principal, when I moved here).

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Why do you think this has anything to do with you being foreign? Telekom is famous for its service (or lack thereof).

 

That is for sure. We had them at our old flat, but switched to having our phone and internet through our mobile provider at our new place because it was cheaper. Even though we wrote them more than once with enough notice, they continued trying to charge us for the landline, even after we moved out. They threatened to sue us for the money and my German husband sent them copies of letters he sent. They didn't back off until my husband said he wanted to take it to court, and they finally read the letters my husband sent and dropped the case because it wasn't likely they would win. I never would use them again unless there was really no other option.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That was pretty much my experience getting rid of Telekom as well - they were appalling! (sorry for the OT)

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now