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Foreign students quit Germany in droves
Photo: DPA

Foreign students quit Germany in droves

Published: 24 Apr 2012 07:55 GMT+02:00
Updated: 24 Apr 2012 07:55 GMT+02:00

The report by the Expert Council of German Foundations on Integration and Migration (SVR), which surveyed students in Germany and four other EU countries (the UK, France, the Netherlands and Italy), looks set to prompt new government questions on attracting skilled immigrants to Germany, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reported on Monday.

SVR director Gunilla Fincke said the figures can be attributed to the “substantial hurdles” faced by foreign students in Germany. In particular, she cites a lack of bureaucratic and legal guidance for those wishing to stay in the country after graduation.

The study found that only a quarter of all respondents understood the complex German legislation on their status. The report suggested that one solution might be to provide an English translation of the relevant laws, since many of Germany’s foreign students have a better command of this language than of German.

The opposition seized on the findings, with Kai Gehring, education spokesman for the Greens, lamenting “a culture that does not welcome, but frightens people away.” But according to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, government plans are already in place to rectify the situation.

Under the government's new proposals, foreign students will be granted greater scope to work alongside their studies and will be permitted to stay and look for a job for 18 months, rather than the 12 currently allowed.

If the plan is successful, it should give German companies a greater pool of skilled professionals from which to recruit. But they shouldn’t count on tying the foreign students to a long contract, advises Fincke. Only 12.5 percent intend to stay in Germany longer than five years after their degree, the report found.

That might have something to do with the study’s findings on xenophobia: 40 percent of foreign students in Germany claimed to have experienced such discrimination, with only France rated as more unwelcoming.

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Your comments about this article

11:24 April 24, 2012 by erkan
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
11:40 April 24, 2012 by Jibzy
The top comment is complete non-sense. I am of color and i have not ONCE been asked for my papers. I have lived and studied in Berlin. Some people were rude and yes i can put that in the RACIST tray but i dont have enough evidence to say that they hated ME particularly. Maybe they hated everyone.

And for your information sir, there are some Muslims in England causing mayhem but a ton more who dont and are very well integrated. Kindness or peace isnt journalism-worthy so if you dont get to hear about them, doesnt mean they dont exist.

ANYWAY, I am a foregin student who stayed here. I dont think there is a culture that scares people away but yes one has to go through some hardship, ESPECIALLY the tough German and pissed-off people in the Ausländeramt. Actually that is the only thing i can think of. All other hardships i went through were very necessary.

I also think foreign students should feel pressurized to learn German and develop their social skills according to the society in Germany. Otherwise we will end up with different "hood's". If they cant do the 2 things, then they shouldn't be allowed to live/work in Germany.
12:35 April 24, 2012 by McM
Did it ever occur to the researchers that it is not that attractive to live in Germany,especially if you are educated. Too, crowded, too uptight ,no humor and too provincial for many young people who are more global in their thinking.
14:14 April 24, 2012 by taiwanluthiers
Tuition in the UK and America as well as many English speaking countries are prohibitively expensive, and in order to get a student visa in those countries you must prove that you can pay all that (which could amount to something like 10,000-30,000 USD a year, not including cost of living which is a lot more). So the expectation is that you would go back home to "make your country better", but the real motivation is to make money off of international students by selling them education.

In Germany your education is paid for by the government, 500 euros a semester (could be higher or lower, depending on universities or programs) whether you're a native German, or a foreign student. It is not unreasonable that you would be expected to stay in Germany and contribute to the German economy for a few years to recoup the expenses. So yea it should not only be easy for them to stay, they should be required to work for a number of years to pay back the education.
15:21 April 24, 2012 by AlexR
No real surprise here. The findings of this survey are directly related to another recent survey where foreigners in Germany (as well as women and older people) are less likely to get a job interview.

http://www.thelocal.de/money/20120417-41997.html
15:46 April 24, 2012 by catjones
The loss of newly educated students is not just limited to immigrants...the germans are leaving too.
16:27 April 24, 2012 by rmarquina
12 to 18 months? thats insane!

I studied here in Germany and signed my current job contract a few weeks before my final examination.

The biggest problem I saw, why my foreigner colleagues didn't/don't wanna stay in Germany is because they haven't integrate to the German society.
17:23 April 24, 2012 by vishwa
I think we can not say - Just Ausländeramt is the problem. they are also part o fthe problem. Only people who get visa to stay with out problem is by means of asylum. Germany doesnt have any provisions to issue or even extend the VISA to skilled employees (This is official). Only provision where they may consider is that you worked here for at least 3 years.
17:24 April 24, 2012 by reallybigdog
More people want to immigrate to Germany for economic reasons being that Germany is the strongest economy in Europe so contrary to those comments above the studies prove that people are coming not going. People follow the money no matter what country you live in.

The issue that the above commentators miss again is the issue of understanding the language, culture and rules which is a daunting task in any non-native speaking country you would move to. Our daughter has moved to Germany at 18 and loves it! However even she knows that the language and rules must be respected as Germans or any other country for that matter have every right not to openly accept people who move to their country and cannot speak the language, disrespect the culture and then wonder why they are at the bottom of the barrel. Its called competition for work etc and nobody is going to give you handouts because your a non German speaking immigrant who has little to offer any company because you do not understand the language or culture and then in turn become one of those immigrants that thinks everyone is out to get them or out to discriminate against them when its their lack of preparedness at the root of the problem from the start.

That all said if you want to move to Germany as many do than understand that you better have a plan in place which includes understanding the language and culture for starters as well as the rules or stay home until you are prepared to make the move since only the prepared will succeed and those who don't take moving to another country seriously will fail, and end up posting on this site!
17:35 April 24, 2012 by raandy
I have worked here for 25 years and have found it very ok. I have had no real problems to speak of. I never felt that I was totally accepted,but on the other hand never felt rejected either. You as an outsider will never be on the same plateau as a real German ( one with a long family book history) this by no means, means you will be excluded from German life. Germany is more than ok with me in this respect.

but I can understand why many people from different cultures, that unlike me do not have a German wife might find it difficult to feel they fit in.

Getting a job interview , with out a connection can be difficult. You need to do some networking.
18:45 April 24, 2012 by hankeat
I can share some experiences from my point of view as an Asian. Most of my friends from Indonesian who studied in Germany had to leave the country, because they couldn't find a job. Only two of them are staying mainly because of the good income, but they lives aren't happy as well, because they cannot fit into the German society. The cause is they are too Asian and too conservative. If they aren't ready to give up their old lives, they will never happy to live here.
19:43 April 24, 2012 by siba
@ McM: I have no idea what you are talking about!!!! "Too, crowded, too uptight ,no humor and too provincial for many young people who are more global in their thinking." Where do you take these false generalizations from? I am an immigrant and live in Berlin and I think Berlin is currently one of the most attractive cities for Western immigrants, if from the US or Western Europe. All my expat friends also enjoy their lives in Berlin and wanna stay. The only barrier was always getting a visa for which non-europeans need a job and an emplyer who finances the visa. But the governement plans to make it easier and even the Ausländeramt is planned to be transferred into a welcoming service office. There is a lot happing under the paradigm of "intercultural opening". Just give it a bit of time.

For Berlin I must say that I have never been to a more tolerant and liberal place. New York and London are a joke compared to it. Here is everything possible. You can run naked on the streets and people find it ok. Diversity is appreciated here. The mayor is gay, some district-mayors are turks, and you hear English, Spanish and French (and of course Turkish) everywhere.

So MCM, your gernalizations about Germany are nothing but a subjective contruct of a preoccupied mind. Come to Berlin to decontruct your prejudices.
20:52 April 24, 2012 by maxbrando
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
22:08 April 24, 2012 by McM
I rest my case.
22:11 April 24, 2012 by ovalle3.14
@marquina

So you had a contract weeks before your graduation. Must be the same for everybody, oder?
22:24 April 24, 2012 by oyram
All the above described are facts. but what should be the direction - ?

That depends on who is more desperate?

1. If Germany needs more skilled workers from other countries - the country should adopt a pro-global attitude - the rules should be relaxed, language restrictions should be reduced, the mindset of people in general should be trained for that...

2. if Germany economy is doing good, and many outsiders want to migrate and reap the benifits - Germany rules need not change much.. the immigrant should adopt to the society/rules/language , period.

If some outsider living here, believes in point 1, then it means he is a capable guy and he can demand what he needs, and if he is not recognised to his ability or not treated well, he should leave.. as he is anyway a capable guy, he can go where he wants! :P

All said, everyone has the right to complain! and keep "the local" in business! :D
12:13 April 25, 2012 by kenia-berlin-blog
McM hit the nail on the head, very true. I live here ,15 years to be precise,im educated and black and you know what? the laws are friendly for unqualified foreigners than the educated ones. If you are willing to provide comfort to a a German social misfit "as what they call "Import braut"or rather imported wife and husband you will get a visa faster than an educated foreigner.Iam still of the opinion that foreigners are welcome in Germany so long as they can clean toilets but on on the Boss Desk call it a no go zone.
16:50 April 25, 2012 by Peepopaapo
If you are good enough and if you work hard you will easily find a decent appointment no matter if you are black, white, red or yellow.

Riding on the old and boring all Germans are racists and therefore I don't find an appointment just because I'm a foreigner is just ridiculous and an anti-German libel as well as a cheap attempt to deflect from your own failure.
18:52 April 25, 2012 by Jigarian
@rmarquina This is normal in many cases. But during end of 2008, 2009-2010 it was not the same. I could not get the contract before my graduation because of Kurzarbeit and had to wait 8 months to find job. So I guess 12-18 months window is more than useful in many cases.
11:28 April 27, 2012 by aardee
For living here and seeing all phases of life I think

1. Germans are not at all rude , very friendly and helpful when they know you. Some exceptions are in all countries

2. There should be a easily searchable & detailed Law and guidance in English so that people can decide other than running door to door for guidance.

2. Problem is the system not people - It is ultra easy to make a contract marriage and be a Royal Guest by using Hertz IV. Almost everybody has seen I dont know why govt is not seeing this. "If you are giving bananas and peanuts you will only attract Monkeys "

The system should be changed so that it gets very difficult for such peoples and easy for people you come here to Earn and pay taxes and live a decent life.

At the moment its exactly opposite that's Sad
00:44 April 28, 2012 by DrGideonPolya
Until recently there was a big retention of overseas university students in Australia but this has declined because of various factors including (a) government policy making it much harder for them to stay, (b) an increased value of the Australian dollar , this making it a more expensive destination for study, (c) violence to Indian students that has recently increased against Chinese students and (d) possibly other factors e.g. there is a New White Australia Policy that makes it much harder for non-Europeans (and Eastern Europeans) to get visas to come to Australia than for Europeans (and certain "Honorary Whites" such as Japanese). I suspect that (a) may be applying in Germany.

While Germany evidently remains an excellent place to study, live and work, Australia has a 2-speed economy (a burgeoning but climate criminal iron ore and fossil fuel exports but lacklustre manufacturing driven down by the appreciating Australian dollar) . In addition Australian universities are grossly under-funded and declining reputationally. Thus the Australian university-backed and academic-based web magazine The Conversation has an appalling record of censoring credentialled academic opinions it evidently does not want its readers to read, know about or think about. - why should overseas students study in a country damned by appalling censorship of academics and free speech (Google "Censorship by The Conversation", "LNL censorship", "Censorship by The Age" and "ABC Censorship").?
16:04 April 29, 2012 by blackboot11
@siba

I agree with your comments about Berlin, but Berlin is an island within Germany that is why we live here and not in another german city.....
04:18 April 30, 2012 by jeff10renatus
Why is it that of all of Local publications for various European countries, the Local for Germany 'removes' the most comments? Does this seem to others to be a continuation of the attitude that allowed the Nazis to come to power and Stasi to be so effective in East Germany?

So, is this dark and threatening propensity to stifle dissent and unpopular or provacative comments, all traits of totalitarianism, alive and well in modern Germany, as evidenced by the unreasonably dictatorial acts of the Local for Germany?

Why does the German Local fear expressions of certain types of opinions?

Do the editors or does the management of the Local for Germany even realize that these censorious actions are the very basis of what allows for the existence of totalitarian regimes?
17:16 April 30, 2012 by dirving71
I think the reason foreign students leave is the same reason German doctors have left in droves--this is global economy and certain skill sets are in high demand in other countries. That means the ones who offer the highest salaries and the most attractive packages will win the battles for the cream of the crop. Quite frankly, Germany does not pay as well as other Western counterparts for IT and medical jobs. I know because I have turned down a few offers. Why should I work for Germany to get paid anywhere from 50 to a 100% less than I will in other places such as Switzerland, the US or the UK? On top of that, you have to give 40% to 50% percent of that money back to government (depending on your marital status) and deal with a extremely high cost of living--and bad weather to boot. When you look at all of those factors, Germany does not look so attractive to young graduates. German companies have to wake up to the realization that they will have to open up their wallets if they want to retain top-tier talent there and make it worth their time to stay. Furthermore, Deutschland should also consider relaxing the rules a little bit to make it easier for immigrants who are educated here to stay. In America, you very often have doctors, engineers, and other highly educated professionals working in the same place where several of them are from different countries. Germans have to be more cosmopolitan in their thinking and adapt to the global economy a little more. That way, Germany will be better equipped to deal with problems like the storage of engineers that are not being readily filled by Germans. On the flip side, those wishing to stay here should respect the culture and be willing to adapt also.
14:50 May 3, 2012 by nightangel
Germany needs educated, skilled worker? what a surprise ! Funny . yeah may be Educated, Skilled EU worker ))). Open your eyes dudes . Most of the students in germany face extreme problem dealing with Visa papers till work permit. The institution responsible for giving service for most of the important paper works are very unfriendly and skeptic when they see Foreigner. People sitting in these institutions namely : Arbeitsamt, Auslanderbehorde, Auslandamt, Burgeramt, Finanzamt etc are most of them woman with age over 35 to 45 and they ain't friendly with people at all. They dont need educated ppl , they need labor to clean the mess in germany.

Based on Approximation:

Security Guard ( Hotel,party house,DB bahn) : Turkeish

Dish cleaner: Asians, African

Lagar arbeit : Arabisch , marokkanisch,

Baustelle: Russians, turkeisch, other EU accession countries

And of course you would hardly find a German Dish cleaner ! This is reality ! face it or Leave it !
12:32 May 7, 2012 by Ludinwolf
Many here keep saying that Germany has to change. Germans are rude. The rules in this country are too tight.

Just to remember that every country has its own personality and history along them.

There are certain countries that make it ´easier´maybe to accept foreigners and give them a workplace but it does not mean Germany should do the same.

I think germany should not make drastic changes in its roots in order to accommodate people that grew in different cultures.

the message is welcome but although it welcomes the most, the remain will be the ones that also accept germany as it is, and rather than find it difficult, do the best to get the paper bureaucracy done.

The biggest changes should happen in ourselves first.

(im not german and live very well here once i ve completed the requirements)
12:23 May 21, 2013 by siam
OK. after going through the post and comments. I would like to share my experience.

No.1 I am doing MS in IT,living in Stuttgart so far I have found German's are not rude. As I dont know German, I had to face many problems. But when I was in problem found many people would love to help me,if I asked for help.

No. 2 German IT field is changing, may be for shortage of experts. After arriving in Stuttgart I applied for many part time jobs(and I am elegible for those jobs technically) . I was called for interview 10% f the jobs and after interview I was offerred by all of them. The 90% job requires German knowledge as why they didn't

ask me for an interview.

Finally I am happy to study and work here so far(I am from Asis), but not sure about my future. I am loving this country but after my study will I get a full time job offer? I am not sure because most of the companies want German language skilled people.
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