Senegambians in Germany welcome Berlin’s long-term residency offer  

Dec 5, 2022, 10:37 AM | Article By: Alhagie Mbye, the Point’s Europe correspondent  

Hundreds of Senegambian asylum seekers, refugees and other migrants currently living in Germany have welcome a “long-term residency” deal offered by the government that would allow them the opportunity for a durable stay as well as various other vital prospects.

Nonetheless, the offer is meant for concerned migrants who already spent a period of five years or more in the so-called “Tolerated Status” beginning as of October 1, 2022.  

Already, the lower House of the Parliament has successfully passed the Bill that is also anticipated to fast-track asylum procedures and the chance for migrants to apply for other required benefits.  

It is also vital to note that the so-called residency rights for “Tolerated People” was meant for rejected applicants who cannot be deported due to instability in their countries of origin or lack of proper travel documents.  

Furthermore, there are strict requirements attributed to the pact including knowledge of the German language and the ability to financial security such as a job offer.   

Responding to inquiries by The Point, regarding the impact it may have on concerned Gambians, Julia G. Klug, who has been monitoring the proceedings for various law and refugee agencies in Germany and abroad, said: “Firstly, it is vital for long-term residency…but also taking into consideration those who have lived here for five years… Also, the applicant is expected to not commit a serious criminal offence in any part of the country.”  

Currently, there are thousands of job vacancies across the country and thus Germany, which has one of Europe’s strictest immigration rules, is currently under serious and drastic immigration transformation.  

However, some MPs are critical of the offer in favour of the migrants and vowed to “keep fighting against it”.  

Consequently, the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) and the CDU/CSU opposition bloc voted against the deal, describing it as an offer for “immigration violation …rewarding rejected asylum seekers…”  

Also, this correspondent hears from concerned Senegambians that some of them may not be able to pass any exam in German due to their “inability to speak or write properly because we have been living in the shadows for a very long time or working in areas where such requirement is nonexistence”.  

Meanwhile, a UNHCR official has commended Berlin for the offer and hails it as "a step in the right direction".