Young Nigerians at an event on regular migration organised by the Nigerian-German Centre for Migration, Jobs and Reintegration in Lagos, February 2022. Some analysts blame difficulties in obtaining visa as a major contributory factor to irregular migration/Photo: Femi Awoniyi

German embassies discriminate against young visa applicants in Africa — Missio

The Catholic mission organisation Missio has accused the German embassies in Nigeria and Kenya of discrimination against young visa applicants. Many of them invited for church youth meetings in Germany in October had not received visas, the organisation charged in Aachen. “Because they are young, they are generally assumed to be unwilling to return [after the end of their engagement in Germany],” said Pastor Dirk Bingener, Missio President. Visas for older people, on the other hand, would be granted, he added.

For example, the young applicants were often not given appointments at the embassy, the authenticity of the documents they submitted was doubted or more and more documents were demanded, the organisation reported. Those lucky to get appointment and who provided all the required papers were still not given visas, although all guarantees from Germany were available – a widespread practice of German embassies in African countries.

“This harassment, this discriminatory practice based on age must finally stop,” Bingener demanded. The damage to international youth work is much, he said. Last year, according to the organisation, young people from a Missio partner project in Nigeria were particularly affected. This year, the young people from Kenya invited to the Month of World Mission in October, who run Catholic youth social work in the poor districts of Nairobi with the organisation Younib, were affected.

The Federal Foreign Office and Minister Annalena Baerbock, a member of the Green party, have a duty here, said Bingener. Besides Missio, other civil society organisations had also had such experiences with German embassies in the global South. The advent of the SPD-Green-FDP coalition government has not changed the situation, even though it had been criticised by the Greens in the past.

Sola Jolaoso with agency reports

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