Those affected continue to complain about the chaos at the Immigration Office in Darmstadt – despite the new concept

The Immigration Office in Darmstadt wanted to improve the performance of its services with more staff and better working procedures. But those affected continue to report that they cannot be reached and that the situation at the site is chaotic.

With the move to modern rooms and the introduction of a new concept, everything should improve at the Immigration Office in Darmstadt. But even after a good six weeks of making plans, the chaotic conditions there seem to be as they always have been.

Those affected are currently reporting the impossibility to reach the authorities or get an appointment there. There is often a lot at stake for them. It concerns residence and asylum permits, the possibility of obtaining a job in Germany or the ability to accept a place at a university.

People bending in the corridors

On social media, a Twitter user recently posted photos and videos of larger groups of people sitting on the floor in the agency’s corridors, waiting to be allowed in. Complaining that emails and written appointment requests went unanswered and that there was no way to communicate by phone.

“I thought something like this only existed in my third world country,” the Honduran woman wrote on the network. By no means can everyone queuing hope to return home with an appointment after waiting up to eight hours.

Only those who run have a chance

Venous Sander, an attorney who specializes in immigration law, can confirm the descriptions. “We’ve also had complaints recently,” says the lawyer, who shares an office with colleague Sonia Blokeboom in Darmstadt.

Sander said one of her clients took extra time the day before to queue at 5 a.m. When it opened, it was not allowed to enter due to crowding. Only those who run fast enough have a chance. “Conditions such as the start of selling tickets for a coveted concert must have been very poor.”

The call was answered only after 160 contact attempts

She herself took an extra two hours to contact the authorities for a client who urgently needed a temporary residence permit, the so-called bogus certificate, because she was on maternity leave. She made about 160 contact attempts before someone answered.

The lady on the phone was also very nice and looked after. According to her the phone is always busy. Sander says experience teaches us otherwise. And filling out the contact form on the authority’s website doesn’t get anywhere: “You’ll never get an answer.”

New offices, new concept – little improvement

The problems with the Immigration Office in Darmstadt have been known for years. Mayor Jochen Bartsch (the Greens) finally declared it a top priority. The Business Team should initiate restructuring and improvement of business processes. This also included the establishment of a hotline.

But neither this nor the move to new rooms at the Luisencenter this year showed any improvement. Plückebaum complained to HR at the time: “Indeed, everything went wrong,” the power was still not available, and there was no communication.

In mid-July, the city approached a “fundamental reorganization” of power. More employees announced. The service team must coordinate the allocation of appointments, and specialist teams must be able to respond more specifically to different concerns. Anyone who had hoped this would provide a quick cure is now disappointed.

City: “In the early stages of construction”

“The new service team of the Foreigners Authority is currently still in the early stages of construction,” the city said Thursday in response to the human resources request. Due to the high backlog and accompanying volume of visits, “there are sometimes longer wait times”.

Three positions on the service team have been filled, and another position of team leader is still in the process of being filled. More new hires in the near future would help “drastically reduce the number of people waiting,” the city hopes. The services will be expanded successively so that in the future it will also be possible to set appointments and issue documents in an uncomplicated way.

New laws and the Ukrainian war aggravated the situation

It’s like you’ve heard it before. Attorney Sanders is more than skeptical that the innovations will lead to a rapid breakthrough. “There are more and more amendments to the immigration law,” the lawyer explains. “And somehow they forgot to work for the immigration authorities accordingly.”

Added to this is the Ukraine war and the resulting new cases. “Darmstadt won’t be able to handle that.” The attorney estimates that it will take a year or two just to work through the backlog and get things back to normal in this matter.

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