Ebern – Leonid is 33 years old. Kherson, in the south of ukraine, is his hometown. Actually. He fled to germany with his wife olha and three children in november 2014. He has applied for asylum. His life story got a file mark, leonid officially became a "refugee". This was not to be the end of the line for the ukrainian: "mr. Hurko has become a friend in the meantime", says christian raehse "and you don't leave a friend hanging." Raehse is the head of the building yard of the city of ebern and the boss of leonid hurko. The ukrainian family's prospects of staying are slim; at the beginning of the year, a complaint was filed against the deportation order. Raehse fights to give the family "the chance to settle permanently in germany after all."
Hard-nosed search for work
Leonid hurko is a prime example of successful integration: only a few days after he arrived in ebern with his family in winter 2014, he asked the asylum support group for work. Not only once, but again and again. His stubbornness paid off: three months later leonid started working for the city of ebern as a community service worker. As a so-called "1-euro-jobber" he helped wherever he could. For christian raehse, "leo" presented himself, as he is called in the building yard, quickly as a "thousand aces" dar. "He is versatile and reliable", christian raehse "important in our team" is his opinion." Due to the high level of commitment, the manager of the building yard campaigned for a permanent position for leo, with success. In august 2016 he was able to sign his employment contract. Even member of the state parliament steffen vogel congratulated him personally.
All family members have arrived
Like the father, his children also took the matter of integration into their own hands. The oldest son rostic started in elementary school. "Very nice and totally uncomplicated, ingrid mandery, the principal at the time, felt the first few weeks with the young. The siblings quickly settled in at the kindergarten. Mother olha has found a job with the awo ebern labor welfare association. Neither olha nor leo completed a german course: "they learned the language on their own initiative. With the help of the children and at every opportunity they wrote vocabulary cards", describes raehse. "Through his behavior and his work, leo is respected and integrated in the bauhof. In addition, the family is also interwoven into public life.
In march of this year it was supposed to be over: the hurko family's application for asylum was rejected and they had to leave the federal republic within 30 days. "We filed an appeal in due time and considered how we could avoid a clear threat of deportation", explains christian raehse. After consultation with the bavarian refugee council, pro asylum and public institutions, a solution emerged: if one of the two parents had a training place, the "3+2 rule" adopted by the government was applied take hold: refugees who start an apprenticeship should have a guarantee that they will be able to finish the apprenticeship and work for two years afterwards. Even when the asylum application was rejected. "Since leo is in a temporary employment, we have tried to find an apprenticeship for the woman. That she also earns money and the family therefore has to claim even fewer social benefits", so raehse.
Searched, and found: to the 1. September had olha hurko with the family leyh on the experience farm in losbergsgereuth (market rentweinsdorf) her training as a housekeeper can start. But one thing is missing: the permit for the training from the central foreigners authority (ZAB) of the government of lower franconia from schweinfurt. "It should come this week or next", says raehse optimistically. The fate of the hurko family depends on this decision. "The best thing would be if the answer was: the training is approved. Toleration for three years. Then a new life was started for the family", according to christian raehse.
Fear for life and limb
Leo sits attentively next to his "boss, when the latter talks about the rules and regulations. "Not so good, the father of the family describes the situation. He does not show his feelings. In ukraine he was supposed to be drafted into the army and fight at the front. He was afraid for life and limb of his family. Now he is afraid again. In addition to his mandatory lawyer, leo has obtained information about his case: "a lawyer from nurnberg told us that there are certain criteria that prevent the start of training in such a situation. None of these criteria apply to the hurko family, however", explains christian raehse, about the fact, which lets both hope for a good end.
The ZAB has already informed us by telephone that no training is currently being approved for asylum seekers from ukraine due to the planned repatriation. If the hurko family had a work visa, the case would have been easier. "I wonder how this will work. Leo goes to kiev, gets the visa and all is well? Or will he be collected as soon as he crosses the border??", advises christian raehse. Nobody, also "from politics could not explain to him the successful feasibility of this alternative until now.
The foreign office decides
A few months ago christian raehse had contacted local members of parliament about the hurko case. On request, he received the following information from the federal office for refugees and migration: "the responsible foreigners authority can, however, reject the integration performance and issue a toleration (…)", according to the letter of 8. May 2017. Christian raehse then contacted landrat wilhelm schneider, as head of the local foreign affairs department. He was repeatedly told by the head of the office, michael rahn, that the "responsibility lies solely with the central foreigners' office in schweinfurt. (…) an influence from our side is not possible", rahn last wrote on 13. September.
The hurko family wants to work, pay taxes, recognize the basic rights of the federal republic of germany and adapt to the new situation. "They have integrated and are making a living for themselves", continues mayor jurgen hennemann. But that is apparently not desired, feels christian raehse. "With an extraordinary initiative leo and his family identify themselves with our values and carry our culture out", emphasizes the head of the building yard, who sees the decision-maker sitting somewhere between habfurt and schweinfurt. "This commitment should be rewarded", finds jurgen hennemann. For both, the facts speak in favor of granting training. "We need such qualified professionals. Without her it will not work in the future. As a city we were going to lose a very good employee", hennemann finds out.
Politics close to the burger?
The hurko family's appeal against the deportation decision has not yet been decided. Nevertheless, months of efforts for integration on the part of the city of ebern, many voluntary asylum helpers in the district of habberge and the hurko family were ruined and worthless in no time if the education of olha hurko is not approved. "I have to question the actual people-oriented and citizen-oriented policy", christian raehse admits with this experience "when a family is so integrated and there is also support, that this is not reflected in the policy." He still has no answer to the question of whether "politics" is the right thing to do at the end of the day, really implementing the concerns of the burgers.
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