African students who fled war-torn Ukraine in February 2022 and resettled in Germany are facing discrimination. Here is a simplified account of their situation
The German government has treated African students differently right from the start. While students from other countries were warmly welcomed and smoothly integrated into the German system, African students have faced difficulties. Their certificates were not recognized, and they were not allowed to continue their education in German universities.
As a third-country national (i.e. a person without Ukrainian citizenship), you will receive a residence permit for temporary protection according to Section 24…
Furthermore, they were excluded from Article 24, which grants EU-wide visas primarily to Ukrainian war refugees with citizenship, leaving their legal status in Germany uncertain. This discrimination has led to many African students receiving deportation orders.
Germany has provided limited support, leaving these students to navigate complex rules about visas, university credits, and potential deportation. Going back home could be unsafe for many, and for most, it means years of lost hard work and tuition fees, putting their dreams on hold indefinitely.
Many of these students find themselves in limbo, unable to continue their studies in Germany or their home countries, as Ukrainian university credits often go unrecognized. Some are determined to finish their degrees and have chosen to return to Ukraine despite the risks.
Three examples illustrate the hardship faced: Kofi, a medical graduate, and Emeka, a cardiologist, both are facing deportation to their respective countries. Imagine the pain and mental anguish they are experiencing. Mohammed, just months away from becoming a medical doctor, may have to start over as a nurse.
Even those who have pursued language courses are being asked to return home. Germany can do better. It's paradoxical to charter plans to Africa in search of skilled labor while discriminating against those who are already here.
No financial support
As if that is not enough, most of the African Community leaders and non-governmental agencies were overstretched; they lacked the capacity to support their people. Equally, they were also not provided enough financial and logistic support to be in a better position to support their people. Advice them, support them, look for living options, and health, look for language schools, apply to universities and language schools, and many more.
It's crucial for policies to be fair and free of double standards. The plight of these African students highlights the need for more progressive and inclusive approaches.
Desmond John Beddy
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