Nearly 5,000 Gambian asylum seekers may be deported from Germany – report

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By Alagie Manneh

A semi-annual report by the Federal Employment Agency of Germany has indicated that the status of at least 4950 Gambian asylum seekers in Germany is unclear, making them vulnerable for potential future deportations.

They formed 30 percent of Gambian asylum seekers – 16190 – whose futures remain unknown in Germany.

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“If one adds the job seekers (1580), those registered as unemployed (780), and the applicants for vocational training (160), there remain 4950 people from The Gambia who are not registered with the employment agency, and whose circumstances are therefore unclear,” the report, released last week, stated.

Addressing the development, the speaker at the Refugee Council of Baden-Württemberg for Gambia, and refugee activist Yahya Sonko, described the findings as “sad” even though it’s not only on The Gambia but all other African countries with migrants in Germany.

“These are some of the people who will face deportation in the coming year and months,” he told The Standard. “What is important is for us as advocates and our Gambia government to work hand in gloves to help those Gambians who are not in the system. Let us find out about them, who they are, and their problems and how to integrate them in Germany.”

Mr Sokno stressed the importance of taking action to avert the deportations, saying that The Gambia is not capable of dealing with thousands of disgruntled deportees.

“We are already struggling to manage with those already deported. The number is huge and if nothing is done, Germany is going to end up deporting them. Our government doesn’t have the capacity to handle thousands. What we can do is to look for ways to involve these people in vocation training and help them self-actualise here in Germany,” he said. 

Despite the negatives, the report noted the efforts of thousands of other Gambians who have either secured jobs or are working to legally regularise their conditions in Germany. It said that by the beginning of 2021, one third of all Gambians asylum seekers already had a residential permit.

“In the meantime, further residence titles, especially residence permits, are likely to have been issued in 2021 and 2022. These people already have good prospects of staying in Germany legally,” it said.

What this means, according to Mr Sonko, is that migrants are  good people, despite the often negative media coverage that their plights attract.

“The figures are adjusting in terms of Gambians getting into vocational training, and for those Gambians who are getting permanent jobs as well. The report tells us that there are thousands of decent Gambians who are working and paying taxes in Germany. It tells us that contrary to what our Gambia government tells us about the past and activities of some of our Gambian migrants, they are in fact hard working and are good people. As a migration advocate, I am happy. This is the only way forward,” he said.