Shaping migration

Tunisia: Fresh start for returnees

Walid from Tunisia is 37 years old. He went to Germany in search of a better income but returned home disillusioned after around 18 months.

‘In Tunisia, I initially worked as a bus driver and then as a taxi driver. Like a lot of other people, I thought I could earn more money in Europe, so in July 2015 I went to Germany on a tourist visa. In Germany, I applied for asylum. To improve my chances of getting a positive decision, I concealed my true identity. I had great difficulty finding a job in Germany. I couldn’t get a place on a German course either, because at the time all the training centres were already bursting at the seams. Eventually I managed to get a placement at a hotel in Hamburg, and at the end of it they would have taken me on for a year. But unfortunately I failed to get a work permit because my German wasn’t good enough.

My situation in Germany was quite unstable and I found that a real strain. Also, I had to support my family in Tunisia – my wife and my little girl. In the end, that was why I decided to return to Tunisia in February 2017. Before I left Germany, I heard about the German-Tunisian Centre in Tunis, and when I got back I went there to get advice on my job prospects. My goal is to open my own little café in Tunis in the near future.

I’ve been back to the centre several times since June 2017 for more advice. In one-to-one meetings, the advisors explained my options and then introduced me to the Espace Entreprendre of the Tunisian Employment Agency, who help people who want to set up their own businesses to develop their business ideas and put them into practice. At the moment I’m working as a taxi driver again so that I can save the start-up capital for my café. If my project is successful, I’ll happily show any fellow Tunisians in Europe who are having similar difficulties to mine that it can be worthwhile to return home.‘

For people like Walid, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH set up an advice centre in Tunis in 2017 on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development – the German-Tunisian Centre for Jobs, Migration and Reintegration. The centre provides free information and advice on job prospects in Tunisia.
 
It works closely with the Tunisian Employment Agency, offering advisory services that complement the support already available. Besides finding out about job opportunities on the Tunisian labour market, people can also obtain advice on GIZ’s training courses and on legal migration. By the end of 2017, around 1,500 people had been advised and had received insight into these topics from career fairs and information events held at universities, for example.
 
March 2018