Saturday, August 1, 2015

The Computerized Solution to German Immigration?

ARD (state-run Channel One for Germany) did a fairly interesting piece on the immigration and refugee episode from yesterday.....to explain how people get assigned to cities or regions.

Some people who are on the trail leading into Germany....have relatives or friends already in the country, and in some particular city (like Hamburg, or Frankfurt).  Their intention....is to get approved and sent onto this area where their relatives reside. A number of  refugees want to live in the larger cities because they know the job potential is better.

Well....the system doesn't work that way, and I think it's a bit of a shock to realize how it does work.

You see....it's all computerized.  Oddly enough, the Germans sat and thought about this whole process and decided that only a computer could calculate the various angles to this whole thing, and then render a fair decision.

The system works with a quota for each state, which has a relationship to the population of that state and the tax revenues of that state.

In some ways, the computer program is a random number generator.  Your name, original country and relationship to your wife or kids....figures into this.  Distant relatives like cousins or uncles....don't matter.

You can imagine the scene when the German bureaucrat explains the program, the output of the computer, and how beyond all possible thinking....instead of Stuttgart where you really desired to go.....you end up in Trier.  Frustrations mount at this point.  They thought they had everything figured out when they started this trip to Germany and their relatives would help them.

From the video of the news episode....the German telling the story....tries to be diplomatic about the output of the computer.  Sometimes....people just aren't happy and question how they could be put into a part of the country where they have no desire to be.

At this point, a certificate is generated and the family is free to leave the camp and proceed onto an assigned city or town.  They are given a week to report there.  They get tickets from the camp and it's their responsibility to proceed onto this assigned area.

What happens if they don't go there?  Maybe they decide with the temp visa and things seem fine...just skip some rural town in such-and-such-state, and head off to the cousin's city?  Well....it's an interesting response.....they get reported to the police.  When they get picked up, which might be days, weeks or months....it'll be noted in the computer system where they were supposed to be and they failed to show up at the assigned area.  The German guy explaining this....didn't really go into detail how the affair is handled at that point.  I got the impression that they will ask some stupid questions and get some stupid answers, and then a new review process will be done, with less chances of acceptance built into this situation.

An outsider....like an American, would naturally ask the stupid question....are German states different to such a degree that some areas might be extremely different from another?  Well....yeah, that's the simple side of this episode.

I've traveled extensively through eight of the sixteen German states, and to a small degree in  five other states.  I'd put Sachsen, Brandenburg, and Macklenburg on the list of places that I've yet to drive through.....all on the far east side of the country.  I've spent a fair amount of time living in both the Pfalz and Hessen, along with a dozen-odd trips to Bavaria.

Each has a charm and character that is unique from other states or regions.  Even in Hessen, it's safe to say that Frankfurt is big-city atmosphere with a particular type of spirit.  You could go two hours north, still in Hessen and arrive in Kassel to find that it's fairly different and a different attitude among the locals.

Job potential?  I'd be the first to admit that a guy in the middle of Frankfurt who is willing to take just about any job offered, will find a thriving job market.  If you can get the clearance for the airport....there's probably two-hundred jobs monthly that get offered.  If you are willing to work long hours at some kitchen....there are several thousand restaurant jobs within an hour's drive of Frankfurt.  If you ventured to Trier, you could spend a year in some language program and trying to adjust....only to find a couple of jobs possible, and all pay marginal income.

If you head further eastward into Germany....you discover that the unemployment rate is higher than ten-percent and it makes very little sense for you to stay in that area.

In some ways, it's a blunt form of bureaucratic entanglement that they've gotten themselves into.  Refugees used various ways to sneak into Germany and force the the Germans into some method of accepting them.  Well.....the Germans are just as crafty as the refugees and have devised the computer program to resettle these folks into other zones.  If you stick to their plan, and get integrated....then get citizenship....then you earn the right to move like every single German has.

For some reason, with this system devised....I don't see people actively accepting this and there might be a year or two down the road where the immigrant is frustrated and finally gives up (returning to their homeland).  Even if one million immigrants or refugees show up this year and 400,000 are accepted into the program to stay.....I might question how many are still here in five years.  Maybe half of the 400,000 have packed up and are gone?

All of this....simply as a education effort to train the new resident to follow orders?  Well....yeah....it just might be perceived as such.  And it's the right of the German government to run it this way.  If you wanted to immigrate so badly.....you'd best play by the rules or settle for the consequences.

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