Berlin Ausländerbehörde to hire 38 employees to process non-EU skilled workers
The CDU-SPD local government in Berlin is set to hire 38 new employees at the city’s Ausländerbehörde (Immigration Office), but the much-needed help will likely be just a drop in the ocean.
More Ausländerbehörde staff will be hired in Berlin
The CDU-SPD local government in Berlin is set to hire 38 new employees at the city’s Ausländerbehörde, in the hope that it will mitigate the increasing backlog of visa and residence permit applications and renewals.
The plan is part of the city’s 2024 / 2025 budget, and while it is a step in the right direction, the forthcoming introduction of the Chancenkarte immigration policy in Germany - which hopes to make it easier for the skilled workers the country desperately needs to move over - is likely to put the office back to square one, or indeed make it even more dysfunctional.
According to Berliner Morgenpost, Germany’s Interior Ministry has said that introducing the Chancenkarte without giving the Berlin Ausländerbehörde the resources and staff it already urgently needs means that the “risk of a threatening further deterioration of services can be assumed”.
Berlin LEA rebrand proves futile three years on
Attempts have been made in the past to improve services at the Berlin office. In 2020, the Ausländerbehörde (literally, Foreigners’ Office) had a rebrand and planned an IT switch-up that the city hoped would help get things running a little more smoothly for newcomers to the capital.
The newly-christened Landesamt für Einwanderung (State Office for Immigration), or LEA if you’re on first-name terms, hired almost 30 percent more staff and digitised some services. But now, a report by Berliner Morgenpost into the state of the local office almost three years later has revealed that many of the updates have proven near futile and the name change nothing more than cosmetic.
The office now has 28 percent more employees than it did in 2020, up to 615 from 479, and the number of official documents, such as residence permits, being issued from the office has increased by 77 percent (from 142.000 to 251.000), but employees are still struggling to keep up.
There are an additional 131 junior staff at the office but they are not fully trained and their job is to support the senior staff. Continued understaffing means that currently, people are waiting an average of four months to get a written response from their case worker and around six months to get an appointment, even in urgent cases.
The situation is reminiscent of the ongoing crisis in Stuttgart, where the Ausländerbehörde was recently condemned for understaffing and disorganisation so severe that people were being forced to camp outside the office up until the day before their visa or temporary residence permit was due to expire.
Thumb image credit: Mo Photography Berlin / Shutterstock.com