• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Refugees in Germany 'crazy with boredom'
Economists have been calling on authorities to speed up the integration process by offering training more swiftly. Photo: DPA

Refugees in Germany 'crazy with boredom'

AFP · 20 Feb 2016, 12:36

Published: 20 Feb 2016 12:36 GMT+01:00

That includes helping to distribute meals or building bunk beds. In between time, he rolls cigarettes with others in the same boat as him, exchanging stories about their road into exile, the countless borders they crossed and the exorbitant sums they paid to human traffickers.

Tens of thousands from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere are waiting impatiently for German authorities to process their asylum requests.

Many long to return to work or college, but before they obtain residency, they have to find ways to kill time.

“I studied economics in Kabul but I can’t work here before I obtain a long-term residence visa,” said Yaza, who arrived in Germany three months ago.

At the back of the gym, a group of young Iraqis and Syrians sporting track pants and slippers are sitting under a basketball net, listening to Arab pop music blaring from a mobile phone.

Idriez, 22, from the western Syrian port city of Latakia, was trying to work out the complexities of German grammar.

“Der, die, das,” he recited, glancing at a whiteboard where volunteers had written the masculine, feminine and neutral forms of the article ‘the’.

“I want to go back to school here but I need to be able to speak German first,” he said, before losing himself in his book “German for Beginners”.

The days at the shelter, also home to 168 other people, are monotonous, punctuated only by breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Morning and midday meals are usually comprised of cheese, bread, olives and a hard-boiled egg.  In the evening, a warm meal is served.

Although children usually get sent to school fairly quickly, young men and women often have to wait months before they can start German classes.

In a nearby church, volunteers give classes every Monday and Wednesday to arm the newcomers with some basic German as they battle their way through complex bureaucracy.

The rest of the time, however, the refugees live in a parallel world, with little or no contact with German society.

Economists have been calling on authorities to speed up the integration process by offering training more swiftly.

“The process of integration like language classes should begin as soon as possible, because that’s what determines whether integration would be successful in the long term,” said Thomas Liebig, an economist specialising on migration issues at the OECD.

He believes that educational and professional qualifications should be examined at the same time that the asylum application is made, so that appropriate classes can be offered quickly.

Story continues below…

But with 1.1 million new arrivals in 2015 alone, German authorities are running a massive backlog.

Between 300,000 and 400,000 people were still waiting to be registered, said the chief of Germany’s refugee office, Frank-Juergen Weise, in early February.

Some migrants are so exasperated that they have decided to simply leave.

Since September, around 1,970 Iraqis have opted to go home.

 

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Today's headlines
Is German diplomacy getting too chummy with Russia?
Russian President Vladimir Putin meeting German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Photo: DPA/AFP Pool.

Critics have been questioning the German Foreign Minister's recent series of comments about working closer with Russia, with some labelling the diplomat a "Russia-sympathizer".

Police investigate after mosque door is bricked shut
The bricked-up door. Photo: Facebook/Netzwerk für Flüchtlinge in Parchim.

Unknown people have bricked up the entrance to a mosque in northeastern Germany and stuck racist flyers to their masonry work.

Vice-Chancellor: TTIP trade deal is dead
Photo: DPA

Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said Sunday that negotiations on a massive trade deal between the European Union and the United States were effectively dead in the water.

Law to force mums to give up identity of child's real father
Photo: DPA

Germany has drafted a law requiring mothers to inform their partners if their children were fathered by another man, Justice Minister Heiko Maas said on Monday.

Gallery
Germans race bulls too, but with a difference
Photo: DPA

The most important sporting events only happen every four years: the World Cup, the Olympics, and of course the Münsing ox race.

Attempted murder charge for Isis teen who stabbed cop
A police officer stands on a train platform at Hannover main station. Photo: DPA

German federal prosecutors said Monday they had brought charges against a 16-year-old girl who allegedly stabbed a policeman in February in an operation for Isis.

Nearly 9,000 refugee children reported missing: report
Refugee children in Hamburg. Photo: DPA.

German media reported on Monday that the number of refugee children reported as missing has doubled to reach nearly 9,000.

EU nations must not refuse Muslim migrants: Merkel
Photo: DPA

The refusal of some EU countries to accept Muslim refugees is "unacceptable", Chancellor Angela Merkel said Sunday as Germany called for quotas to divide the influx throughout the bloc.

Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
File photo: DPA

When a man swimming naked in a Bavarian lake felt a strange pain in his nether regions, he looked up to see a fisherman on the shore. "Don’t pull!" he shouted.

Study finds rival Rhineland beers 'actually taste the same'
Left: Altbier. Right: Kölsch. Or can you even tell? Photos: DPA.

Cologne and Düsseldorf have a long established rivalry, not least over who has the better home brew. So the results of a new study might be more than they can swallow.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
National
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
National
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
Lifestyle
What's on in Germany: events for August 2016
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Travel
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
Travel
Six soothing day trips to escape the bustle of Berlin
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
7,431
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd