Are people from certain countries more likely to be denied German student visas?

Students in Tübingen. Photo: DPA

In spite of receiving admission offers from universities in Germany, Arbab Mazhar’s student visa was rejected twice by the German embassy in Islamabad. The Pakistani man is not alone in his experience.

When Arbab Mazhar got accepted on a Bachelor programme at a German higher education institution back in 2011, he had no idea that it would be years until he was finally granted a visa to study in Deutschland.

Mazhar told The Local that his rejections were “totally unfair” and initially “very disappointing” since he fulfilled all the necessary requirements and submitted the mandatory documents.

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It’s time we stop asking ‘where are you from?’ in Germany

When a study published last week revealed that foreigners in Germany with a visible migration background experience discrimination far more often than foreigners who appear “typically German,” it resonated with The Local’s Shelley Pascual.

Flags in Stuttgart (l) and people obtaining German citizenship (r). Photos: DPA

In the study, carried out by the Council of German Foundations on Integration and Migration (SVR), responses from over 5,000 immigrants and people with a migrant background across Germany were collected.

Of those who described their appearance as “typically German,” around 17 percent stated they felt disadvantaged because of their roots. By contrast, 48 percent of participants with a visible immigration background (e.g. those who have dark skin or wear a headscarf) reported having experienced discrimination.

According to these respondents, discrimination can come in many forms: violence, unfairness with regard to the search for jobs and housing, offensive statements as well as statements that may not necessarily be considered negative by the person saying it – including the often-asked question, “where are you actually from?”

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Canada-Germany: My Youth Mobility Visa Story

Who knew that trusting my gut and risking everything would alter the course of my life? 

Berlin Wall, Germany

Seeing the Berlin Wall for the first time.

When I flew from Toronto to Berlin on a one-way ticket back in early 2012, I didn’t have a job or an internship lined up in Germany. I was 25 years old and I had just spent a year in Australia.

At the time, all I knew was that I was keen on continuing to live abroad. I was intrigued by the idea of immersing myself in German culture and society. I also wanted to be reunited with my German boyfriend, as we’d met in Australia.

The only plan I had was to figure everything out once I got to Germany.

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2017 Toronto Conference on Germany

Populism, immigration and the upcoming federal election in Germany were discussed at University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs on 8 April 2017.

An annual event in Toronto, this conference examines the relationship between Germany and Canada as well as issues of politics, the economy, foreign affairs and business from the perspectives of both countries.

This year, politicians, media representatives, scholars, students, the German community and members of the public came together for a full day to discuss the state of the union in what is arguably Europe’s most substantial country.

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