free movement limerick

No one in the history of this Earth
Ever had a say over their birth
We’re all therefore beholden
to the rule that is golden
For migration’s not just about financial worth.


residence permits in germany

Her face is so familiar... because it's on the posters at the visa office
Her face is so familiar… because it’s on the posters at the visa office

Most of the non-Germans I know in Hamburg are now graduated/ing and looking to stay and work in Germany. A few of them have been asking me about work/residence permits because somehow I am one step ahead of most of them. Here’s what I found out:

If you are a non-EU national and you graduated from a German university:

  • You are allowed to stay in Germany for 18 months after graduation. Note that you have to apply for a permit to do so. Since residence permits and work permits are now one and the same in Germany, you are allowed to pick up any kind of employment with this permit.
  • If you find a job that matches your qualifications, you can get a residence/work permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis) that’s tied to this job. Once the job contract ends, your permit ends.
  • You can apply for a permanent residence permit (Niederlassungserlaubnis) after 2 years’ of paid employment and contributions to the German state pension plan (Rentenversicherung) on the conditions that you have employment, accommodation, basic German language skills, basic knowledge of German political and social systems.
  • You can also apply for a permanent residence permit after 33 months of holding a EU Blue Card, which you obtain by having a job contract with annual gross salary of minimum €47.600 – or €37.128 in the fields of natural sciences, math, engineering, medicine or IT. The incubation period shortens to 21 months if your German is B1 level or higher. The card allows you to live (I think work as well) in other EU countries.

it’s the integration, stupid

What with local UK and European elections next week, there’s been a lot of talk on immigration. Farage/UKIP, following a string of racism scandals, continues its racist rhetoric and pressures Miliband/Labour into following suit with some xenophobic pandering of its own in the hopes of holding on to the blue-collar vote.

They remind me – once again – that we urgently need to change the public and policy discourse from immigration to integration.

Not a single person in the entire history of the human species has ever chosen which country to be born in, and yet this accident of birth has a tremendous influence in determining how one’s life will pan out. Immigration – the movement of people – is hence about justice and equality. The actual movement of humans across a national border causes no problems. A failure to integrate them into their new communities and societies, however, will.

Academic findings by Oxford and UCL show that immigrants make a positive net contribution to the UK economy and are less likely than native-born Brits to receive state benefits or live in social housing. The same story holds true for  New Zealand and other countries. In other words, immigrants are good for the economy – so let’s redirect our efforts towards making everyone more relaxed about them. Let’s introduce better integration policy! Because people should have the right to move where they want to be and to be able to call that new place ‘home’.

measuring responsibility and leadership

Lady Justice (c) Tristan Henry-Wilson

Today I received this in my work email inbox: OECD states cut emissions too slowly.

For anyone who watches the news, this is hardly groundbreaking. For those of us working in environmental justice or international development, we’ve seen graphs and diagrams ad nauseam depicting the earth’s trajectory vis-a-vis greenhouse gas emissions based on different scenarios and data. They have the same story: The planet – and, therefore, humanity – is doomed because we’re not doing enough to rein in emissions.

But who, exactly, are ‘we’? Read More »

‘go home’ is not an immigration policy

The Guardian’s recent news story on the immigration bill by UK home secretary Theresa May has drawn 1000+ comments in 36 hours.

It’s clear that I care deeply about immigration policy and political rhetoric around immigration and integration. I draw this conclusion based on two facts:

  1. The rate at and length to which I comment on the topic whenever it crops up in the news or conversations
  2. The ease awith which I accomplish 1.

Read More »