For months now, West Berlin has been the destination of thousands of Pakistanis, who have been lured on by placement agents making wild promises of opportunities to earn large sums of money in West Germany.
For months now, West Berlin has been the destination of thousands of Pakistanis, who have been lured on by placement agents making wild promises of opportunities to earn large sums of money in West Germany. But the travellers are confronted with a different situation very soon after their arrival. Because the Pakistanis have immigrated illegally, they cannot count on obtaining residence or work permits. Not even the detour of applying for political asylum can prevent them being sent back home very quickly. Finding a job is all but impossible, for more than one million West Germans are already unemployed. Even the social relief services are minimal. After deduction of the costs for accommodation and food, the Pakistanis have no more than DM 1.50 left over per day. That isn't even enough money to buy a half a packet of cigarettes or a pound of rice. The Pakistanis very quickly learn that the promises of the placement agents were a pack of lies.)
SYNOPSIS: Berlin, a city divided into east and west zones; for months now it has been the destination of thousands Pakistanis who have been lured on by placement agents making wild promises of chances to earn large sums in West Germany. But immediately after their arrival they are confronted with the bitter reality - because they have immigrated illegally, they cannot obtain a residence permit and must reckon with being deported.
After questioning by the police, the Pakistanis can only make their way to the social relief offices of the West Berlin administration. But even this aid is minimal. Again the Pakistanis see that the promises of the placement agents were nothing but fairy tales.
After deduction of the costs for bed and board, the Pakistanis have only DM 1.50 left over - not even enough for half a packet of cigarettes or a pound of rice. And often, the placement agents who have travelled along with them demand half of that meagre sum. The Pakistanis stand no chance at all of landing jobs, for more than a million West Germans themselves are unemployed. Commenting on the situation, the head of the West Berlin Foreigners' Office, Harald Hollenberg, in an e-te-s interview:
'There is no chance of the promises which were made to them in Pakistan by the agents being fulfilled. Their entry into the Federal Republic was illegal. The Pakistanis cannot count on obtaining a residence or work permit. Nor is the detour suggested by the agents - applying for political asylum - a solution of nay duration. They can't even figure on getting work during the course of the asylum application process. And their lack of knowledge of the language here is another great problem. They must reckon on spending their stay here in camps where they are given the necessities, but hardly any money at all."
This dwelling is among the best. There are only a few hundred sleeping "cells" of this kind available for thousands of Pakistanis. Many of them must sleep in unheated rooms, with temperatures under zero in winter. The West German system of justice seldom grants political asylum, because this process is so often abused. As a rule, only 2 of every 2,000 applications are approved. Two Pakistanis who live in West Berlin report in an e-te-s interview on their experiences.