Vietnamese threatened with deportation: Back to the Hardship Commission

The former Vietnamese contract worker Pham Phi Son is threatened with deportation in Saxony. The immigration authorities are opposed.

A family photo of former GDR contract worker Pham Phi Son with his wife and daughter

Pham Phi Son has lived in Chemnitz since 1987, his daughter was born here Photo: private

BERLIN taz | The supporters of the deportation threatened former GDR contract worker Pham Phi Son and his family go to the next round. “We are now preparing a third hardship application,” says Dave Schmidtke from the Saxon Refugee Council of the taz.

The refugee council wants to settle the job offers from Saxon restaurants. In addition, the family man is currently taking a German course. In 2019, the commission rejected an initial hardship application for Son, who lives in Chemnitz. At that time, his poor knowledge of German had a negative impact.

Like almost all Vietnamese GDR contract workers, Pham Phi Son only learned German for a few weeks in the GDR and communicated with interpreters at work. From the perspective of the GDR, integration into society was not necessary.

Even after reunification, he was unable to learn German: at that time, former contract workers only received a right of residence if they earned their own living. That left no time to go to school. Son has only had a legal right to learn German since 2015. In that year, the Hardship Commission rejected to look into the case again.

Not fit to travel

The Saxon Refugee Council has an online petition launched, which 84,000 people signed. Now the new application should get things moving. The Vietnamese Pham Phi Son (65) has lived in Chemnitz since 1987. He has worked half his life in gastronomy. In 2016 he was on vacation in Vietnam for longer than the allowed six months. However, it was impossible for him to return in time because an old war injury on his leg had flared up again under the subtropical climate and had to be treated.

This was the undoing of the man, who had never been criminally prosecuted: A year later he lost his right of residence, as did his Vietnamese wife who had just come to Germany and their daughter who was born here. The city of Chemnitz made sure that the family lost their home and job.

The case is currently at the immigration office in Chemnitz for a new decision after Jenny Fleischer, the family’s lawyer, applied for a humanitarian right to stay. But it seems that the authority is not moving. Fleischer had enclosed job offers from Saxon gastronomy companies that urgently need workers with the application.

The lawyer cannot invoke a legal claim to the right to stay, the decision depends on the goodwill of the immigration authorities. At the request of the taz, a spokeswoman for the city of Chemnitz rejected a statement referring to data protection.

Ministry of the Interior stays out

A spokesman for the Saxon Ministry of the Interior referred to the clear legal situation when asked. “Both the Chemnitz Administrative Court and the Saxon Higher Administrative Court have confirmed the decision of the City of Chemnitz. The Ministry of the Interior cannot and must not ignore this.” The case can only be resumed “if the factual or legal situation changes significantly in favor of the person concerned.”

According to a well-informed source in Dresden, the Interior Ministry would be interested in a positive solution for the family should it be entrusted with the issue. This is not officially confirmed.

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