Don't forget to like, share,comment and subscribe for more exciting videos. FOlLOW US. Indian Immigrants Discover Germany Is No Promised Land
BERLIN -- The day before his wife is scheduled to leave with their two daughters to go home to India, Madhava Turumella double-parks his dark blue BMW and helps his wife into a small travel agency lined with vacation posters for India and Nepal. Pale from her recent pregnancy, his wife arranges for seats and meals, white running shoes peeking out from under her blue sari. Mr. Turumella doesn't know when his family will come back. This isn't how he envisioned his life in Germany. A 34-year-old native of India with a computer-science degree, a certified Microsoft systems engineer, he turned down a U.S. visa for high-skilled workers and accepted an offer of one of Germany's new "green cards," a residency permit the country was offering technology experts like himself. Colleagues questioned his decision to head to Germany, a country that was just beginning to invite specialists like him, rather than America, the high-technology Promised Land. But Mr. Turumella was eager to chart his own path. "Everybody goes to the land with opportunities, whereas I am an optimist," he says. "Where people say there is nothing, I go there and see whether there is really nothing there or not." Mr. Turumella found a Germany that invited high-skilled workers from abroad but really wasn't prepared to help them when they arrived. Seemingly simple things like opening a bank account or paying taxes are difficult for foreigners, especially those like Mr. Turumella who don't speak German. He also discovered it was hard to be an Indian pioneer in a place where immigrants still stand out. "What the government tried to do here was to liberalize immigration law without making it clear that immigration can benefit the immigrant and the people already there," says Philip Martin, a migration professor at the University of California at Davis. Germany's experience shows that a change in a law isn't enough to bring dynamism to a country. Like other initiatives from Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder meant to break down longtime barriers in German society and the economy, the green-card program has turned out to be only a small first, and so far incomplete, step. As September's federal elections near, the immigration issue isn't going away. A bill that would make it easier for skilled workers to settle in Germany is languishing. The opposition candidate for chancellor, Edmund Stoiber, is pushing for rules to keep a tighter lid on newcomers. The green-card initiative was conceived in 2000 by Mr. Schroeder during the crest of the high-tech boom, when German technology-industry leaders said they were losing out globally because they couldn't fill 75,000 to 200,000 tech jobs with home-grown specialists.
The push represents a radical change in Germany's immigration policies. Beginning in the 1950s, West Germany invited Gastarbeiter, or guest workers, to work temporarily. When the government ended the recruitment in 1973, millions of people, mostly Turkish citizens, ended up staying permanently, later bringing over their families. Without realizing it was promoting immigration, Germany wound up with its first permanent immigrant community. The green-card proposal was meant to break with this haphazard policy. But making it work smoothly would require a fundamental shift in how Germans think about immigrants: realizing that Germany needs these foreigners, who could pick and choose where they wanted to go. Prominent conservatives balked, crafting catchy slogans such as "Kinder statt Inder," (children, not Indians) to argue that a nation with more than three million unemployed should be training its own people to fill vacant high-paying positions. To gain approval, the German green-card program was made unlike the U.S. green card from which it gets its name: The German version doesn't allow permanent residency or the opportunity to naturalize. These select immigrants can stay in Germany for a maximum of five years. A cap was set at a modest 20,000 non-EU technology specialists. To launch the initiative, Germany's top officials went on a recruitment drive. At the time, Mr. Turumella was working as a computer-information manager in Saudi Arabia. On a visit home to India in 2000, he heard German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer give a talk in high-tech hot spot Bangalore. Mr. Fischer said Germany needed information workers and promised a warm welcome. Chancellor Schroeder, Interior Minister Otto Schily and Economics Minister Warner Mueller traveled to Bangalore later that year for more tech talk.
On the Spot. Soon after Mr. Fischer's visit, Mr. Turumella sent a letter outlining his credentials to Forsa Society for Social Research & Statistical Analysis mbH, a leading German polling firm in Berlin.