I spent more than five years of my best times in Göttingen, Köln, and Münster. I probably had the best supervisor and colleagues and thought I love this country almost as much as my homeland. When I just moved to the Netherlands for postdoc, I missed many things in Germany. After my postdoc, I decided to settle in Germany and I thought it feels a bit like going home. However, if someone tells me now he or she loves Germany so much and decide to settle there, I started to feel a bit differently.
I got a position at Bayreuth University in Dec. 2020 and accepted the offer in Feb. 2021. Everyone in Bayreuth has been super kind to me and I met really great professors. But one thing happened that completely changed my feelings to Germany as a whole despite that I tried to stay objective. I know the negative feelings will disappear with time but what has happened cannot be forgotten — there is no justice in the immigration office of Bayreuth: the immigration office picks up the punishment part of the law out of context and tries their best to kick international scholars out of the country.
This all starts from more than two months ago, when I travelled to Bayreuth with great excitement. It’s a new job, new environment, completely different areas (I have only stayed in Northern Germany). It’s a music town and I have heard so many things about it. I was also starting to prepare to teach soon. It’s the pandemic time (covid-19), moving was not easy.
I checked all the corona regulations, my resident permit, all the documents I should carry but forgot to check my passport. When I handed in my passport to the immigration office, I got informed that my passport just got expired. The immigration office then sent to me a threatening letter, saying they have informed the police, I have to be dispelled immediately and they will not process my resident permit within a few months.
I got so scared and immediately consulted a lawyer specialising in immigration law, Mike (Pseudonym), and he told me that this is not a big problem and I still have the right to apply for a resident permit as it is the city prosecutor who is going to punish me, not the immigration office. He told me he could help me to restore a good impression of the immigration office. To ensure I do not make any further mistakes and have a good start at Bayreuth, I gave him the attorney. In the meantime, I immediately applied a new passport.
Mike then started to communicate with the immigration office, the head of it, is called Mrs. Molitor. Initially, he makes a call and wrote a letter illustrating all the regulations and laws and asked the immigration office to handle my resident permit before I receive my new passport. Mrs. Molitor refused and said they have to treat everyone equally, same as me and a terrorist.
Mike told me then if I receive my new passport, I won’t be a threat to the country anymore as she alluded. I received my new passport after about 10 days, that was April 9, Mike congratulated me and wrote a very comprehensive application to the immigration office. In the 10-page long letter it clearly describes what has happened, the laws corresponding to it, and that I meet all the requirements to obtain a resident permit as soon as possible. I was very delighted and thought an appointment should come within no time.
After another 10 days, however, I haven’t heard anything from the immigration office. Mike called Mrs. Molitor again, and Molitor said she sent a letter by post. She believes I have to be kicked out of the country. After Mike received the letter, he told me all her points are nonsense. Most of them were already explained in his last letter. Mike thought probably those points are not highlighted enough and wrote a new statement, illustrating why her points are wrong. The statement is so clear and detailed that even I as a layman and non-native speaker thought it is persuasive enough.
After another week, Mike received another letter by post, insisting on all her previous points, and adding that being kicked out is not enough, because of the mistake I made, they cannot make me a resident permit.
This cannot be more frustrating! All those 10s of hours, professional letters wrote by a lawyer went seemingly unread. There is no law saying a mistake at entrance out of negligence leads to being banned from the country.
The case of my entering in Germany without a valid passport has been closed by the city prosecutor as the Staatanwalt judged this case as being too minimal for them to go after. Mrs. Molitor called Mike and said for one thing the German law is over the EU law (I don’t know what she means here, probably that because I once violated a German law the EU law does not apply) and for another I have to be punished very hard so that other people won’t make the same mistake. Mrs. Molitor also said some higher department supports her (unjustified) legal opinions fully. I cannot find another word for it. If a city kicks out foreigners like this, does not allow a single mistake out of negligence and any apologies, at least the science here is going to die.
Till now (more than 2 months since I hired a lawyer) I know there is no justice (in terms of laws) at the immigration office. I cannot perform my rights. They basically do whatever they want. Later I learnt that they have a reputation for mishandling international scholars, like forcing students going back to their own country.
I know this would most likely not happening in any other cities of Germany, as Mike (from another city) has been so impressed by the immigration office at Bayreuth. He wrote to the city mayor about the situation and expressed that he felt this is really a pity how negative the immigration office is to international scholars.
(Update, 01-06) “I had/have contacts with many immigration departments but seeing a public institution doing everything just to deny an application is very strange” — Mike
We received another letter from Mrs. Molitor, she started to play tricks with laws and misinterpreting them to fit her arguments.
“Mike“ is a pseudonym