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The status of third-country nationals in Germany is only clarified until May

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“Appropriate regulations for students from third countries who have previously studied in Ukraine,” the Senate of the German Conference of Rectors (HRK) demanded on Wednesday. How could such regulations look like for those who do not have a Ukrainian passport and therefore do not automatically receive the status of war refugees throughout the EU? The HRK did not initially provide any information in this regard.

However, it is clear that students from third countries, like all refugees from Ukraine, can enter without a visa. They also receive the same treatment with regard to the Ukraine Residency Transition Ordinance (UkraineAufenthÜV) of the Federal Ministry of the Interior. After that, international students from Ukraine will enjoy temporary protection until at least May 23 this year.

This is pointed out by the World University Service (WUS) and the federal working group Pro Asyl, and also confirmed by the Department of Science and Research of the Berlin Senate. However, the May 23 deadline is not enough, according to the joint declaration of migration policy initiatives.

The main countries of origin are India, Morocco and Azerbaijan

According to UNESCO, about 60,000 international students were enrolled in Ukrainian universities immediately before the start of the war, explains WUS. The main countries of origin were India, Morocco, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Egypt and Nigeria, and thus countries whose citizens generally have little prospect of asylum or refugee status in Germany.

However, the WUS notes: “They studied in Ukraine because the political situation in their home country prevented them from doing so, or because the tuition fees were unaffordable for them. Putin’s war against Ukraine also shook them and destroyed their plans. for life”.

[Wie die Berliner Hochschule sich aktuell auf die Aufnahme der Ukraine-Flüchtlinge vorbereiten, lesen Sie hier]

Therefore, Germany must “give all international students who have fled to Germany sufficient time for orientation.” They need the opportunity “to try to continue their studies at a German university or at a university in another member state of the European Union without the pressure of leaving the country,” the initiatives demand.

Nigerian students after their arrival from Ukraine – at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja (March 4…Photo: REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

Specifically, they require the federal government to grant security of residence to third-country nationals until at least the start of the winter semester 2023/24. According to the WUS, such a general grant of protection would be possible, for example, through a corresponding extension of the residence permit for refugees from Ukraine.

Discussions in the scientific administration of Berlin

International students who successfully apply for a place at the university or are accepted into the preparatory measures at the beginning of the following winter semester must be able to stay in Germany in accordance with Section 16b of the Residence Law. That would mean equality with other international students who have successfully applied for a place at a university or, for example, a place at a preparatory college.

Residency law issues were already an issue in two rounds with Berlin’s universities in scientific management, most recently on Tuesday with State Secretary Armaghan Naghipur, the spokeswoman said on Wednesday. One result: With the Ukrainian Residency Transition Ordinance, universities could also include third-country nationals from safe countries of origin “initially in their regular programs for refugees or guest students, regardless of their nationality.”

[Alle aktuellen Nachrichten zum russischen Angriff auf die Ukraine bekommen Sie mit der Tagesspiegel-App live auf ihr Handy. Hier für Apple- und Android-Geräte herunterladen.]

In the period until May 23, students can apply for a residence permit for a different purpose, for example, to start a course of study, as long as the requirements are met, according to the spokesperson for the scientific administration.

DAAD expects up to 3,000 third-country nationals

For its part, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) points out that between 1,000 and 3,000 of these students from third countries could arrive in Germany in the coming weeks and months. However, some countries of origin have also launched large-scale fly-in campaigns, such as India, Nigeria and Ecuador.

Back in India: A minister welcomes students back from Ukraine on March 6, 2022 in Kolkata.Photo: AFP/Dibyangshu Sarkar

The group of Ukrainian women is much larger: German universities should focus on train up to 100,000 students and scientists, according to a spokesman. Like the German Rectors’ Conference, the DAAD hopes that the federal and state governments “quickly clarify outstanding financial and legal issues for both groups.”

The scientific administration ensures that the goal is “to integrate refugee students and researchers as well as possible into the existing offers for refugees and into the standard system of universities.”

Baris Ünal, head of student counseling and refugee representative at TU Berlin, says: “The ‘In(2)TU Berlin’ program is open to everyone with a refugee background, we don’t check asylum status or anything like that.” Third-country nationals who want to continue their studies can also start, but at the moment they do not have planning security.


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