Immigration Types

I. Asylum-seeker

The UNHCR defines an asylum-seeker is someone whose request for sanctuary has yet to be processed. National and regional asylum systems are in place to determine who qualifies for international protection. However, during mass movements of refugees, usually as a result of conflict or violence, it is not always possible or necessary to conduct individual interviews with every asylum seeker who crosses a border. These groups are often called ‘prima facie’ refugees.

People do not “become” refugees at the point when their claims for protection are upheld – they were already refugees, and the assessment process has simply recognised their pre-existing status.

International rules and regulations underline that everyone has a right to seek asylum from persecution.

Even before the assessment is made, every person fleeing their country due to a well-founded fear of persecution, as stipulated in the Refugee Convention is entitled to international protection and assistance.

Subsidiary protection

Asylum seekers not yet recognised as refugees can be granted a subsidiary protection status of one-year residency permit (with the possibility of extension), but only for persons threatened by conflict, the death penalty, torture and inhuman punishment in their home country.

Asylum application process

Potential migrants beware that asylum application could be done in only one country, as stipulated by the Dublin procedure. Indeed, Germany has tightened its asylum laws, for example, there is more scrutiny of applicants’ identity. Asylum is granted to only people who prove they are affected by conditions of war, persecution, and violence. Personal conditions such as pregnancy nor nationality would not guarantee one asylum. Ghana is considered by Germany a safe country, where no cause exists to force anyone to illegally migrate against their will. Thus, approval of asylum or as a refugee for Ghanaians is very low. In all cases, support for asylum seekers and refugees while in Germany are mostly in kind such as clothing, hygiene products, and medical aid, but minimal in cash. Note that

II. Refugee

Many people think that anybody who flees a war zone or other calamity automatically becomes a refugee and is entitled to certain protections. Unfortunately, in the eyes of international law, the reality is often more complex than this.

Generally, the term refers to anyone displaced from their home due to persecution or violence as a result of their race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.

HOW EXACTLY IS one determined to be a refugee? The question is not as simple as it may seem. For better or worse, escaping a war-torn country or other catastrophe doesn’t always make that person an official refugee in the eyes of international law.

The definitions of who qualifies and who does not qualify are defined and governed by the UN-convention and protocol relating to the status of refugees.

III. Regular migrant

Someone who possesses the legal documents and valid visa granted by an embassy to enter Germany.

More information can be found here,

IV. Irregular migrant

Irregular migration has become a huge problem in West Africa, where many migrants are believed to come from. Beside cross-boundary, internal migration is also significant in West African countries, which contributes to irregular migration. More minors are entering Germany illegally and unaccompanied, as well as women. Many potential migrants lack credible information about the dangers and consequences of irregular migration. For instance, contrary to a common belief among potential migrants, there is no visa lottery for Germany nor any migration agreement between Germany and Canada that just anyone unduly can take advantage of. One cannot obtain any form of visa, including tourist visa if they entered illegally. Everyone that enters Germany without the right documents would be noticed by border control officials. Unapproved boat trips across the Bab-el-Mandeb to Arabia is as deadly as crossing the Sahara to Europe.

More information on current trends in irregular migration is available here,

Dangerous routes

Dangers on routes for irregular migration include:

  • being sold into slavery by traffickers,
  • drowning in the sea,
  • dying from hunger and thirst,
  • dying in hands of smugglers,
  • dying from harsh weather and environmental conditions, and
  • imprisonment.

Border controls are very strict and whether one is sleeping, pregnant, a minor, or have spent a lot of money on their illegal trip, would not guarantee passage if you do not have a valid visa.

Analysis: since conditions in arrival countries are dangerous, it would be even more informative to locate and understand the perspectives of irregular migrants in Europe or deported migrants on what constitutes danger and successful migration. Moreover, potential illegal migrants usually finance their trips by themselves. Thus, the narrative of the lack of job opportunities that drive irregular migration may be further investigated.

V. Family Reunion

Generally speaking, only members of the nuclear family, such as spouse and minors of refugees and people in an asylum, are entitled to family reunification. For family reunion visa, proof of a valid marriage, sufficient funds, and living space to host the spouse, are all required.

Refugees and people in asylum should not attempt to work when they are not authorised! The German labour market is restricted and regulated by laws. Working illegally is strictly prohibited, and offenders could be deported when caught and be banned from entering the Schengen area for a long period. A piece of advice on migrating legally goes: decide and prepare towards chosen career; find information on where you want to go and what to do (SMART migration). Migrants should identify opportunities in their home country and pursue them.