Hamburg Police Needs You: Wolfgang Kopitzsch, Polizeipresident tells African Community
– New law recognized foreign certificate in Germany takes effect from April
– Government of Hamburg to grant German nationality to 137.000 potential immigrants
– Over 6000 Africans working in Hamburg
Exactly 16:15 the much awaited information event titled: Becoming a German citizen; Police discrimination; Employment opportunities and Education kicked off 15 minutes behind scheduled. The event was organized by the office of Hon. Kenneth Gbandi, Repräsentant des Integrationsbeirats des Hamburger Senates für Afrikanerinnen und Afrikaner and sponsored by African Heritage Magazine Hamburg.
Guest Speakers includes, Wolfgang Kopitzsch, Polizeipräsident Hamburg; Dr. Christoph Bushart, Leiter Behörde für Inneres und Sport Einwohner-Zentralamt, assisted by Frau Stephan. Dr. Christoph Bushart was standing in for Senator Neumann. Others include Sönke Fock Director, Agentur für Arbeit Hamburg and Nikolaus Haufler, Integrationspolitischer Sprecher der CDU-Bürgerschaftsfraktion Hamburg. Unfortunately Anne Helberg, Flüchtlings Zentrum and Bahram Habib, Arbeitsgemeinschaft selbstständiger Migranten (ASM) could not make the event.
In attendance from the African community were the leaders of various community and NGOs, including Jude Ogunnaya, President Nigerian Community Hamburg and an Advisory board member African Consultative forum, Ing. Marouane Snoussi, Chairman MS EDUCATION Bildung & Integration e. V. and deputy speaker Africa Consultative forum; Dipl-Ing. Ohenenana Bonsu Kyeretwie MBA, African-German Youth Arts, Culture & Science Association (AYACSA e.V.) Chris Bernard, President Owerri Development Union Hamburg , Chief Engr. Emeka Ebonu, President Awka Senatorial Union e.V. Hamburg, Emeke Iwuala, President Okigwe Progressive Union e.V., Sunny Ojinji, President Ika Union Hamburg, Dr. Frank Kwaw Codjoe, former Wissenschaftlicher mitabeiter, Ausländerbeauftragte Hamburg and the current secretary Africa Consultative Forum, Mr. Eboh, Executive Member NCG e.V. Hamburg, Ade Oyeleye, Executive member NCG e.V. Hamburg, Martial Ovidio Olympio, deputy president, TRAMWAY e.V. Hamburg , Huy-Tam Van, member, CDU Regionalausschuss Walddörfer and Joe Anaedo member NCG Football club Hamburg among others.
The event was moderated by Hon. Kenneth Gbandi with Clement Klutse as co-moderator. After apologizing for starting up 15 minutes late, he introduced the program scheduled and asked the guest speakers to kindly introduce themselves. Dr. Christoph Bushart informed the audience of the initiative to conferred German citizenship on up to 137.000 potential immigrants who would wish to take up one, and stated that a sizeable potential candidate are also persons with African background. The information on the initiative have been disseminated through various forums and concluded that over 4000 letters to eligible candidates have already been sent out. He further stated the criteria for qualification, which include the duration of one’s stay, working situation and free from any court conviction. In response to the question by Frau Asente on which criteria was then used to select candidates to send letters to, he explained that after considering different options, it was decided to send it alphabetically within all potential candidates and explain further that if most people have not gotten such a letter, it could only mean that it is not their alphabet turn. He also went further to explain that the reason also they decided to send the letters batch by batch is to avoid over congestion in the event that a lot of people should take up the invitation and approached the office at one particular time. When asked by Nikolaus Haufler, one of the guest speakers if he could give an overview on which alphabet they are current on, the reply was “B” sending the audience giggling. He however tried to play down high expectation by appealing that people should be aware that not all applications stand the chance of success. What happens to people who have stayed over 15 years without permanent stay, can they also apply? asked Mr. Eze Nosiri one of the community leaders present. Dr. Christoph Bushart pointed out that the difficulty with such group is establishing their true identity which is not always easy. Until their true identity is ascertained it will be difficult for such an applicant to sail through, concluded Dr. Christoph Bushart.
In a follow up explanation, Frau Stephan, also of Einwohner-Zentralamt responsible for Einbürgerung, took further questions and clarifications with regards to double nationality. According to Frau Stephan, you losses your original nationality as soon as you apply for a German nationality, but quickly pointed out that some countries are with exception, like Nigeria and concluded that the exception to double nationality rest on the country of origin. Frau Asante however pointed out that Ghanaians are not allowed double nationality in Germany but this is possible in US and Canada and needed further clarifications on the disparity.
Frau Stephan then advice everybody with interest to approach the office to ascertain their eligibility on case by case basis. She further explained that the office is open and willing to look at each individual situation and then advice accordingly.
Taking the podium next was Sönke Fock Director, director Agentur für Arbeit Hamburg. He started by giving the overview of job and employment situation in Hamburg. He broke down the figure to include about currently over 6000 Africans fully employed in the city of Hambug, the full overview is still being expected as of the time of filing this report and it will be made available in the future article.
Mr. Sönke Fock emphasized that the principal duty of Agentur für Arbeit is to help source for job and placement. He further remunerated the program which has been put in place to increase the chances of applicants to secure a job. One of such initiatives is the blue card, comparable to the Green Card in America. This stipulates condition a person must fulfill to enable him/her secure a working permit in Germany. He also mentioned the recognition of certain certificate acquired outside Germany to facilitate the prospect of getting a Job. In response to one of the questions, on why certain applicants who are out of work to but willing to take up further education or trade are first required to go through Hartz IV and also why most people who applied to Agentur für Arbeit for support to further their education were turned down. In his response, he explained that the Agentur für Arbeit is a government institution working within a laid down law which they must follow. He However advice that there could be exceptions depending on the situation and stated that the Agency is disposed to look at such exceptions and situations.
His advice anybody with a concrete prove to write to the Police department or to him personally. He explained that his e-mail address is to be found on the internet site of the police and assured the audience that he reads his e-mail personally. He went further to call on the members of the community to come forward to join the police force; he explained that such initiative will go a long way to smoothen up the relationship between the police and the community. In reference to the opening comment from the moderator, he agrees that Hamburg is a multicultural state which is also reflected in the police. He gave the example of other nationality in the police and urged Africans especially the women to come forward and join the force. In response to the question if the standard of entrance examination was not been too high for most immigrants, He agreed it might be the case, but pointed out the danger of recruited police force meant to enforce law and protect life and property not being able to meant up their responsibility due to lower standard of admission.
Nikolaus Haufler, Integrationspolitischer Sprecher der CDU-Bürgerschaftsfraktion Hamburg who spoke on jobs and education gave an emotional personal experience with his family. In spite of their qualification, they were unable to secure a job because their certificates were not recognized in Germany. He emphasizes that creating jobs alone will not solve the problem of immigrants if their qualifications are not accepted here in Germany. While he sympathizes with Agentur für Arbeit on their limitation in supporting further education or training, he stressed the need to find a way to assist applicants. He suggested the creation of education fund as one of such initiative to help such candidates. Nikolaus Haufler also informed the audience of the new law which recognizes certificates obtained outside Germany which has been one of his major concern and advice members of the community to continue to pursue all available opportunity to education, continued education as well as getting their certificate recognized in Germany.
The event ended exactly 18:02 with a vote of thanks by Clement Klutse, who is also a member of the African consultative forum. He pointed out that the information event is one in a series of planned invent and hope to have a higher turn in the upcoming ones. He thanked the Guest speakers for sparing two hours of their time to share useful information with the community.
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