As the economic situation in Venezuela is becoming really grave (I will explain the situation there in another post) Ali and I are looking for ways that make it possible for him to leave as soon as possible. Well, to be precise, we have found and thought about different options in the past, of course, and I would like to highlight those that seem to be the best in our case. This post is only to give an overview – I plan to write about the various options more in-depth in the future.
Although marriage always seems to be the first thought when it comes to foreign couples moving together it is definitely not my favoured option. It would enable Ali to stay in Germany and give him the oportunity to work here. But although I can definitely see myself marrying Ali in the future I would like to marry him because the timing feels right – not because laws leave us no other option. This might sound foolish and even selfish but especially for a person like me who has never really been the marriage type of girl it is crucial. Another important reason is that I am still going to university and the financial aspect of marrying. Getting all the necessary documents, fees and plane ticket(s) will cost a lot of money. I am only working part-time and Ali will probably not find a job immediately after moving here while our living expenses would continue. I have saved a small amount of money to cover the marriage itself but I would not know how or if we would make ends meet afterwards. Many people I have gotten to know who are in the same situation as us have the support of their families to bridge the first time after marriage. Sadly, this is not be possible in our case. So marriage was our option for the time after my graduation – that is in 1,5 years. But Ali wants to leave as soon as possible and therefore we are evaluating other options at the moment.
Finding a job
Finding a job – that sounds easy, doesn’t it? Well, sadly it is not – at least if you are from outside the EU. Ali has studied informatics in Venezuela and two masters in economics and logistics in Spain. German companies are desperately looking for IT professionals – or so it is said. But Ali has applied for numerous jobs at internationally operating companies in Germany (which would maybe tolerate his not so perfect German at the beginning) and only a few have bothered to interview him via Skype. I can even understand them a little. I mean who would bother to go through a lot of trouble including communication problems, visa issues and other paperwork when it is so much easier to keep looking for potential candidates from Germany or the EU.
There is the “jobseeker’s visa“, though: “University graduates with a German or other recognised university degree, or a foreign degree comparable to a German degree, are allowed to enter Germany and seek a job once here. They get a jobseeker’s visa for their job search and are allowed to stay in Germany for up to six months to find employment. They need to prove that they have enough money to live on during their time here. While trying to find a job, they may not work at all, because the job-seeking visa does not permit them to work, whether on a self-employed basis or otherwise” (bluecard-eu.de). Sadly, this is no option for us as well because the problem about covering Ali’s living expenses remains the same as if we were getting married. But to anyone who has the money it would greatly improve the chance to be invited for a job interview and therefore being hired, I’m sure of that. Finding a German company willing to give you a chance is the best thing that could happen to anyone looking to stay in Germany and for Ali and me, anyway. You get the chance to work on you German in Germany (which is the only efficient way to learn German if you ask me), earn money and can start settling in – that’s pretty much all you ask anyway, right?
Studying at a German university even with medium German language skills is though but not impossible. The advantage of studying here is that you keep educating yourself further and gain a certificate that is acknowledged by German companies for sure. Furthermore you keep learning German, study with Germans and therefore make friends and/or get to know people that might be helpful in finding a job later on. You even have the possibility to work while you study although the number of (full) days is limited to 120 per year. As the bigger part of the fees charged by German universities and colleges per semester has been abolished in most federal states, studying in Germany is now cheaper than some years ago. You will still have living expenses, of course. Depending on where in Germany you live and study you can get by with about 500-700 Euro. Many science, IT and engineering programs do not have any restrictions on entry as long as you are able to fulfill the necessary paperwork from abroad and meet general criteria for foreign students. But of course any person who has already invested many years in education in their home country would much rather like work than begin anew.
Language courses are only a temporary option, of course. A visa for a language course grants you the possibility to stay in Germany up to two years although the visa will only be granted for a period of 6 months beforehand before you have renew it – at least that is what they told me at Inlingua in Hannover. Their main purpose is for you to improve your German language skills. You are not allowed to work during your stay, though.
bluecard-eu.de and bundes-freiwilligendienst.de state that it is possible for citizens from outside the EU to to get to know the life in Germany by serving a voluntary service (“Bundesfreiwilligendienst”, BFD – you gotta love German word chains, right? ;). There is no English version of the official BFD website, though, and I did not find any information regarding foreign volunteers on their website, either. I have written an e-mail to them to verify if this is a genuine option for people from outside the EU.
As mentioned above I will write about these alternatives more in-depth in the future but I hope this gave you a good overview over the most common options.