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Ask HN: How Can I leave Syria now and get asylum in Europe (Germany)
298 points by aforarnold on Aug 30, 2013 | hide | past | favorite | 210 comments
Guys, I am in Syria(specifically in Damascus). Seems war is rolling out. Most of the people are moving to border regions but I cant and I am a programmer worked as a remote dev for an Australian startup. But I am not sure how long I will be able to work living in Syria. I want move to Europe specially in Germany as the startup scene is booming in Berlin. So can you guys give me suggestion of legal way to move in Germany as an asylum and will I be able to work if I can move. I went through google but couldn't find much information. And I will be happy to have contact with startups that are hiring dev. I have couple of years backend development experience with Python(Django),LAMP,Node.js and some unix skill. Thanks in advance.

There's a lot of bad information here on Berlin. For context, I'm a non-EU software developer that lives in Berlin and now has permanent residence, as is my girlfriend.

Germany is actually one of the easiest countries to get an immigrant work visa for. I would recommend skipping seeking asylum. There's a large enough job market in Berlin for developers that the work visa route will almost certainly be the fastest and least painful for you.

If you have a university degree, you should be able to get a Blue Card. In fact, Germany will give you a 6 month visa to visit the country and look for a job. Since you're already working remotely, finding money to support yourself during that time should not be difficult.

The salary requirement that others list here is incorrect for software developers. The typical Blue Card minimum required salary is €46,400/year, however, software development is an in-demand job ("Mangelberuf"), which lowers the minimum to €39,192/year, which is above the standard salary that you'd find for development positions at Berlin startups.

If you go the Blue Card route, you'll be eligible for permanent residence in 3 years.

If you don't have a university degree, you're still in pretty good shape. Then, in practice, what you need is a job offer (with a contract). Your residence permit, prior to getting permanent residence, will be connected to your specific job at a specific company (though in practice this just means you have to go to the foreigner's office to apply for a new visa when you change jobs). This was the old system that I went through (before the Blue Card was introduced, which my girlfriend used). Basically if you have a job offer and a reasonable salary, you're next to guaranteed to be able to get a work permit. I've never heard of a software developer having their request denied.

However, that system is not nearly as streamlined, so you actually usually need to already be in Berlin to apply for it. I would recommend finding any excuse you can to come to Berlin on a visitors' visa (language course, conference, whatever) and stay as long as you can. I think you'd be able to find a job and kick off the work permit stuff in a 2 month timeframe.

Going that route you're able to apply for permanent residence after 5 years, though it's a slightly nicer version of permanent residence than the one you get via the Blue Card route since it's transferable to all EU countries except the UK and Ireland.

Official things in Germany will naturally be mostly in German, but the startup scene functions primarily in English. It's totally normal for job interviews and work meetings / emails / etc. to be in English.

If you have questions on this stuff feel free to drop me a line. My email address is in my profile.

> I would recommend skipping seeking asylum.

+1. You were probably just using the wrong term, that may also be why your Google search did not turn up anything. Asylum is only for political refugees. These are not allowed to work, need to live in provided (usually very bad) residences, their children are not allowed to go to school, etc.

> These are not allowed to work, need to live in provided (usually very bad) residences, their children are not allowed to go to school, etc.

What's the point of taking in an asylum-seeker only to treat them like crap?

Yay! We've saved them from torture or death in their home country, but instead we'll just make sure to keep them uneducated and in below the poverty line?

You satisfy your minimum treaty requirements so that they can't sue you in court, then you get to curry favor with your xenophobic nativist demographic by calling the asylees parasites.


The restrictions don't apply once the request for political asylum is granted, but that is a lengthy beaurocratic process.

"The Point" is to get rid off them as soon as they have another place to go.

its not as easy as you picture it, especially for Syrians.

I wanted to send my sister (Syrian) to continue her education in medicine, the German embassy in Syria completely rejected the application.

I tried in Dubai, they asked me to open a bank account for her in Germany, all banks refused to do so. I had eventually to find workarounds (through some powerful friends) and I was able finally to open that account in Wiesbaden.

Now my sister has an official residency visa and she went to open an account in Berlin, but again all banks rejected her request because she is Syrian.

Racism can be really ugly.

It's not at all surprising for me that the German embassy in Syria is swamped at the moment and that makes things more difficult.

However, things are pretty different when you're applying as a student vs. applying as a software developer. There's going to be a lot more scrutiny of the financial situation of a potential student from a country in crisis than for a skilled worker with a job offer. German politics have shifted in recent years because of a labor shortage to where, at least officially, there's a lot of support for qualified workers to move here.

Now, that doesn't mean that there's no racism, but while I don't have any Syrian friends here, I do have a handful of friends from Iran and I've not heard of them having problems at all with things like setting up bank accounts or managing official stuff.

There are a ton of embargoes and sanctions against Syria from both the US and the EU.

Don't assume racism when the problem is government.

That's true in the case of USA, ex: you can never get a credit card processor to accept your application, source forge/google code/ google apps are entirely blocked etc ..

We tried to make a change by starting this :


in the case of Germany I think Government are not the bad people here, they have actually tried to make it easier for Syrian. but most the people who work at embassies / banks etc .. make it impossible for Syrians abroad to reach Germany.

I have friends who managed to get their visas after filing lawsuits against those embassies, but those who only have german friends/relatives who understand and know the German law.


That's a big legal minefield to deal with just to sign up some small accounts from individuals.

I think it's important to note that these are two very different examples. The OP is specifically discussing the experience and approach for a skilled worker in a job search situation where a country is actively seeking that type of worker. That's entirely different to wanting to move somewhere for further your education in a highly competitive field like medicine.

I wonder if she tried GLS Bank? They style themselves as a fair/alternative bank only investing in ethically good things. Lot's of people I know moved their bank account there. It would be interesting to hear if they reject to give bank accounts to people in need. Although perhaps there is something in German law that prevents banks from doing that?


There are a couple of other banks with a similar public agenda, but I don't recall their names.

Did they give a reason (that she was Syrian)?

Yes, they would initially say all is okay. once she pulls the Syrian passport they say: Sorry, we can't open the account.

if any one is in berlin and can guide me to a bank that won't mind opening an account for a Syrian citizen, I would really appreciate it.

Sadly, this was not the only case we encounter, you can read about a similar story happened to my family here :


Are you sure the issue is racism and not due to sanctions that a US based company has to follow (and possibly may not be well defined)?

in that case, doesn't a genuine customer at least deserve an explanation ?

especially that the account was verified and active for weeks, with a valid credit card and all supporting documents (passport etc ..)

I got rejected many times from paypal, 2co, rackspace etc .. but they used to explain the reasons like "we can't deal with syrian citizens" or "you are from a sanctioned country" etc ..

maybe I shouldn't call it racism, But I'm not a native english speaker, and I don't know what should it be called when you are treated differently for being accidentally born in a different region.

They don't know whether you are some regular person just trying to live your life, or some supporter of the sanctioned regime trying to protect ill-gotten gains by moving them out of the country. Unfortunately the latter is a frequent occurrence in military conflicts. The problem is that they don't really have the cultural or social context to judge which sort of Syrian person you are.

The best idea I can come up with offhand is consider a closer but wealthier and more stable country as an intermediate destination, such as Turkey or Dubai, but I realize that's not very helpful.

It's less risky to not to provide an explanation than provide the one that will blow up in your face in court.

Yes indeed ! that's exactly what I think it is.

I'm not German, but I know from experience how many will not call you back if you just have a foreign sounding name. I really thought banks would be different though, I guess there must be many Syrian people in Germany and they all need bank accounts. I would guess that there are some organization for immigrants or even some for Syrian immigrants in Germany, and they could probably help you out with some recommendations.

Don't worry, racism goes both ways.

I'm guessing that you (like me) come from one of exactly 7 countries whose citizens have the privilege of being able to apply for a work visa from within Germany while here on a tourist visa (or, more commonly, a visa-waiver). I can assure you that Syria is most definitely not on that list, and that almost everyone in the world is actually required to obtain a work visa in their home country.

I am. My girlfriend is not. We both got our visas in Germany. (Her case, however, was slightly different than the norm since she went from an academic work visa for post-docs, to a Blue Card, to permanent residence.)

A Syrian would certainly need a visa to enter Germany in general. I believe that you're incorrect as to whether or not, given a valid visa to enter the country, a Syrian citizen would be able to apply for a further visa from within the country.

For reference, this is the actual law that I was referring to which provides for highly qualified foreigners to get a visa to look for work in Germany for six months:


I believe the only point in question is if a Syrian would be able to apply for that from within Germany with a valid visitors' visa, or if they'd need to apply for that from outside of Germany.

I believe zb is correct. I'm also a Blue Card holder living in Berlin, and as a US citizen, I was able to enter Germany on a tourist visa and then apply for the Blue Card from here. However, a friend of mine from the Philippines was in a very similar situation (got a job offer while he was here on a tourist visa) and he had to return home to apply for the Blue Card, since the Philippines are not on that short list of exempted countries. Your girlfriend's case was indeed different, since she wasn't trying to convert from a tourist visa.

Here are a couple of resources on the matter:


Particularly the three paragraphs starting with "You must apply for your visa in your home country before travelling to Germany."


Starting around "Important! If you enter the country without a visa or with a Schengen visa..." (This site's aimed towards students, but I believe the info on entering the country is still applicable here.)

In the OP's specific case (especially considering the fact that the German embassy in Syria is currently closed), I would definitely recommend contacting an immigration lawyer in Germany before entering the country. It's possible that there are other options or exceptions that I'm not aware of.

EDIT: Just noticed that those two links have slightly different lists of exempted countries. The daad.de link might just be out of date, because the following official site also lists only seven countries: http://www.berlin.de/labo/auslaender/dienstleistungen/bes_st...

- software development is an in-demand job ("Mangelberuf")

- €39,192/year [...] is above the standard salary that you'd find for development positions at Berlin startups

Are you sure about that? Somehow these two statement don't sound like they can go together, I think. Wouldn't that be a ridiculously low salary for a European capital, even for startups?

Salaries are pretty low compared to the US. 50-75k euros for developers is pretty common (even in Scandinavia).

On the other hand living costs in berlin are much lower compared to other cities in europe (even compared to other cities in germany).

However, I cannot confirm the minimum wages required by a job under blue card. AFAIR, the blue card covers a broad spectrum of jobs and the wage listed above probably take diverse industries into account.

Are these numbers before, or after taxes?

before taxes.

Taxes in europe are very situation specific (married/single, mortgage, car/bus/work-from-home, public-health insurance, pension, unemployment). I guess this is also country specific inside the EU. For example, in Finland, we do not have progressive tax (or so I am made to believe).

Ridiculously low? €40k? US$52k? That's quite a good deal I guess, and living costs in Berlin are like 1/4 of NYC for example.

What salary did you expect?

I think he probably made a typo and meant to write "below" instead of "above".

Oh, I see. Thanks, I didn't get that.

I have saved enough to live 1-2 years. But how long it takes to get Blue card? I do have an Uni degree and how much I can expect with my around 2.5 years experience. Some of the Berlin startup contacted with me regarding my expectation, as why asking you.


The tricky thing is probably going to be that I expect the German embassy in Syria is totally swamped. If you can get a visitors' visa for Germany, it would probably be easier to apply for it in person here.

When applying in Germany, if everything goes well, you can get a Blue Card with two trips to the foreigners' office -- one to apply and another to pick it up a few weeks later.

Presumably you'd be able to get the visa to seek work pending a Blue Card with a single visit to the foreigners' office.

Salaries are much lower than the US in Berlin, where the range is roughly €35k-75k. With your experience I'd expect you to be in the €40-55k range here.

The Germain embassy in Syria has closed long time ago. the closest alternative now to seek the German embassy in Beirut (Lebanon) or Dubai (UAE)

in Beirut, it is extremely difficult if not impossible, the media reported cases where they hit people with a whip on borders: http://bit.ly/17ohTMP

for Dubai you chances are either:

1. a visit visa (need a good job and a letter from your employer)

2. Student visa (need around 8000 Euros in a German bank account - no bank will give you that, especially from outside germany)

This route is very unlikely, considering that virtually everybody knows about the current situation in Syria. It may make him look suspicious, at best.

Are there any work permits needed for EU citizens? I'm planning on trying the Berlin startup scene this year.


No. EU citizens can work everywhere in the EU, especially as a software dev.

Skip Germany and go to Sweden or England, where people are more than happy to speak English, and there is already many Syrians in Sweden, especially in Sodertalje. Sweden will accept you based on your skills far more easily than Germany, all you need is to find a job, and right now the market is open for a guy of your skills - programmers are in high demand. Look around on various Sweden/Stockholm job posting sites, from there you get the visa and safety. The startup scene is also nice.

As someone else mentioned in Germany as asylum seeker you arent allowed to work. You can come to Sweden and seek asylum and you'd be allowed to work, and when you do sign a contract then you can get a permit to stay and cancel the asylum request. PM me and Ill give you names of good companies that are on the lookout to hire.

As others said, to be able to apply for asylum in EU country X, you have to first set foot in that country X and not in another one, so, go to Turkey or Israel and then fly to Sweden from there.

Sweden is also more flexible, its a country where they look out for the best interest of you as a human (mostly), so if you come to Sweden and continue working for Australian company - it is enough to get a work permit, all you have to do is prove that you earn more than minimum amount, I believe around 1500usd and pay taxes, to be accepted.

As a war refugee my self, I urge you strongly to leave Syria now, for the love of god no matter the price, buy those tickets and get the hell out of there and far away as possible, Sweden, Canada, Australia. (Not Germany, France, Italy, USA, Turkey they all suck.)

Your life is all you got, dont waste it on that war. Take with your closest family if you can.

> Not Germany, France, Italy, USA, Turkey they all suck

As a German, I really have to agree. Don't get trapped here. It's not a very friendly country, especially compared to the scandinavian ones. Xenophobia is also an issue. If I was seeking asylum in order to start a new life somewhere, I'd much rather try for London or Stockholm. Asylum in Germany is more like being in protective custody. Do not do this.

Berlin is way friendlier than Stockholm IME. London and Stockholm are also some of the most expensivie cities in Europe whereas Berlin is cheap.

Cheap doesn't get you anything if you aren't allowed to work.

Ah, I skimmed over the part about asylum conditions. Not allowed to work even when he already has a telejob?

Really Munich/Berlin sucks? Why? IMHO for IT is good. In Munich there are developers from all around the world. I'm not German and I feel good here.

Yeah, but asylum recipients (asylees?) don't get to choose where they are settled. You could end up in Oberunterschwabenhafen and not be allowed to leave the village.

Germany is a bad choice for asylum - I mean, it's great that Germany has a robust system for asylum, because there are people who genuinely need it and benefit from it, but if you're looking for a place to work, this is probably the wrong mechanism.

I have many German friends, so it pains me to say this; but yes, you are right: parts of Germany still have a problem with racism.

My sister-in-law (originally from Kenya) used to live in Germany for many years, and found the abuse she received there demoralizing and (ultimately) intolerable. She now lives here in the UK, and is much, much, much happier as a result, although I think the psychological scars from her time in Germany will remain with her for the rest of her life.

unfortunately this is still true. I think however there has been rather big improvement in the last decade.

As a Turkish who has been working in Germany (Stuttgart) for the last four years, I'd recommend here, Stuttgart, as a pleasant destination. When you find a job which pays a reasonable amount, they can hire you and you get a visa. Don't ever go to Turkey. Don't even enter Turkish soil. You'll be trapped. They started treating Syrians as if they were second class and didn't even keep guiding them, let alone provide shelter and food (or, a job). I'm really ashamed of how Turkey behaved in this crisis. Maybe you'll have better luck in Israel but I have no idea.

I leave in germany in Munich. People will not say it. But they are not just conservative but quite racist.Most compagny here ask foreigners to give their ass (gay 4 job)in order to keep à job or get one....specially in the it. Didnt comply So i got fired..thats reality

Wow, maybe I just got too lucky. My boss and coworkers would be the last people I'd call racist. Well, sometimes they make jokes about my accent and "weird keyboard layout" but those are all friendly jokes. I'm really sorry for you. By the way, did this happen a lot? Asking out of curiosity; what kind of rules did they want you to comply?

I approve this too. Don't go to Germany.

As a German citizen I really hate to say this, but recently there has been a hitch in the media where there were protests by neonazi groups in front of asylum homes. Sadly, there are still people who see asylum seekers as potential job-stealers, showing them nothing but hate and would like to throw them all out, regardless of their skills.

This is absolutely not the general opinion in Germany, but at least some people think so.

The same is true of England. We have the EDL who are a bunch of racist morons. But they are a tiny, despised minority, and certainly shouldn't deter anyone from seeking asylum here.

The English Defence League's stature within society can be easily understood by the fact that their homepage is outranked on google by the English Disco Lovers, a group set up specifically to steal their acronym.

Although in all fairness that could say a great deal about the passion the English have for disco that was previously untapped until this group was formed (is it wrong to joke about such a serious topic?)

Making jokes at the expensive of fascists is a proud tradition. Long may it continue. It guards against their language and mythos being taken seriously.


It's not quite the same. Apart from the fact that the EDL are not neonazis, over 100 asylum seekers were killed by racists in the last 20 years in Germany. Some of the bigger events were racist riots in Rostock [1] and Hoyerswerda [2], and arson attacks on asylum seeker homes in Solingen [3] and Lubeck.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Riot_of_Rostock-Lichtenhagen

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Riot_of_Hoyerswerda

[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solingen_arson_attack_of_1993

Do you have a citation for the 100 deaths? The number seems rather high - from the three events you cite there were "only" five deaths (killed in a fire).

The "Amadeu Antonio Stiftung" has a list [1] of 183 deaths after 1990, where they describe the circumstances of each death. There is also a German wikipedia article that discusses different statistics [2].

Sorry, both sources are in German. Maybe Google translate will help a little?

[1] http://www.mut-gegen-rechte-gewalt.de/news/chronik-der-gewal...

[2] http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Todesopfer_rechtsextremer_Gewal...


I'd say that Germany is still pretty safe, but I admit that there are places that even I as a German feel uneasy about - mostly the rural areas in former East German states.

Also the way asylum seekers are treated here seems pretty bad. But that refers to the way the government handles the issue, not to the attitude of the general population.

I thought that was the BNP. Isn't the EDL focused on Islam or something like that?

The BNP are a different bunch of racist morons. Given that about 75% of the Syrian population are muslim [1], it's exactly the sort of thing the EDL would make a fuss about.

[1]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syria#Religion

> The BNP are a different bunch of racist morons

Yes, although I'm sure there is a good deal of overlap

> Given that about 75% of the Syrian population are muslim [1], it's exactly the sort of thing the EDL would make a fuss about.

The EDL say they are an anti-Muslim organisation, but I imagine most of their supporters are motivated by a more generalised xenophobia, so would dislike Syrians of all religions and none.

UKIP, too.

Don't forget the "Liberty" party: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RWcVguB0GaY

Don't forget Labour.

I would say don't go to former East Germany, including Berlin. Bayern and Baden Württemberg are one of the most peaceful and safe regions in whole Europe, though a bit conservative. I absolute love leaving there, although I'm a foreigner which still can't speak proper German or Schwäbisch.

Though, as a white man, my experience about behaviour of natives might lack first hand perspective of how it looks for black people.

Including Berlin, seriously? I'm tempted to agree with you on the rest of eastern Germany, at least rural regions. But Berlin is more of a multicultural, open-minded island.

Southern Germans however, as you say, tend to be quite conservative. I'm glad for you that you like it here. But as I see it, the most important reason keeping the south from being as unfriendly to foreigners as the east, is its relative economic success and therefore less need for scapegoats.

You'll find such people in every country, I don't think it proves anything about the general sentiment of the population.

Every county has some sick people. Really not an issue of Germany.

Especially concerning muslims or people from muslim countries, xenophobia is crossing over to be the majority opinion. Over half of all Germans believe Islam to be a threat.

Having an arab/turkish name can disqualify you for most job interviews, regardless of background or skill. There was a bestseller in the past years where someone wanted to rationalize social inequality towards especially turks with the basic idea that turks in Germany are genetically inferior in intelligence and will "dilute" our gene pool because of their high reproductive rates...

The only saving grace in that incidence was that most Germans pushed back heavily, at least at that time.

the idea that an "arab/turkish name" disqualifies you from job interviews is dishonest nonsense. it's also quite separate from sarazin's book, which raises some important issues.

This "dishonest nonsense" has been proven in studies and it vibrates with my own experience in companies where behind the curtains this stuff is rationalized a lot.

Sarrazin didn't "raise important issues". He made superficially rational arguments which have in many cases been disproven completely. However these rationalisations were then echoed by racist beliefs buried in society and the discussion became one of racism versus civil rights, ending totally unproductively.

The main "issue" was that "turks are genetically inferior in intelligence so we need not try and give them better chances in education or employment". He didn't even propose to deport two million fellow citizens, but others did that for him in response...

no. 'disqualifies you from job interviews' only applies in very few cases. obviously there will be some discrimination overall, but it's not a serious reason to avoid Germany.

I think the persistent poor performance of certain large immigrant groups certainly is an important issue. It is also true that part of this underperformance may have a genetic cause.

> no. 'disqualifies you from job interviews' only applies in very few cases. obviously there will be some discrimination overall, but it's not a serious reason to avoid Germany.

Unless you are Arab/Muslim, you are very embedded into the Arab/Muslim community/culture, or you are well-versed in the stats on the subject, it really seems like you're speaking from a place of ignorance.

> It is also true that part of this underperformance may have a genetic cause.

It's highly unlikely that such a general descriptor as "job performance" across all industries would have anything to do with genetic factors. The fact that you even bother to mention it makes me think that you're putting more stock in the idea than it is worth.

Only a very few cases? Oh really? If you think that you live in a pipe dream. I am not sure if Germany has been studied specifically, but other European countries have, and the USA. Minorities with ethnic sounding names in a white majority face discrimination and challenges.


"It indicates that a white name yields as many more callbacks as an additional eight years of experience. Race, the authors add, also affects the reward to having a better resume. Whites with higher quality resumes received 30 percent more callbacks than whites with lower quality resumes. But the positive impact of a better resume for those with Africa-American names was much smaller."


"Adida found that in at least two sectors, a Muslim candidate is around 2.5 times less likely to get a job interview than a Christian one, with all else being equal. These results were backed up by a large survey, which showed that among second-generation Senegalese immigrants, Muslim households earn far less than Christian equivalents."


"They found that resumes with Arab/Muslim names were 10% less likely to be called in for an interview and that IAT scores indicating bias against Arabs directly correlated with the likelihood of a callback.

Rooth then followed up with many of the employers who had unwittingly taken part in the first half of the study. The employers filled out three different explicit measures of bias against Arabs and Muslims and then took an IAT that paired Swedish and Arab names with work- associated words such as “lazy”, “slow”, “efficient” and “hard-working”.  Not surprisingly, “the IAT scores of the 193 recruiters participating in this study show that a very clear majority associate words signaling negative productivity… with belonging to the Arab/Muslim minority”."

One of the study proving my "dishonest nonsense" is explained here: http://www.zeit.de/gesellschaft/2010-02/studie-bewerber-ausl...

If you say a "part of this underperformance has a genetic cause" that can't be falsified. How could it?

But: Can you show that genetics has a practical relevance in HR and social policy decisions? Can it have any? Should it have any?

We can see and show factors of discrimination that are definitely not genetic and definitely not a general genetic disadvantage between Germans and other "races" (I shudder at these words...), and that makes it really hard to believe we shouldn't try and ameliorate those because "Hey, it's all genetics anyway!"

So far no one has been able to show me any practical consequence from the theoretical allegations of intellectual performance being genetic.

I must agree to skip Germany. The main problems for asylum seekers are no "Arbeitserlaubniss", so you are not allowed to work legally (you might sell drugs, thats what the thugs want). And even worse you have a "Residenzpficht", so you are not allowed to leave your village or suburb. Thats why police is always searching for foreigners first, because they might violate "Residenzpflicht" by being in the wrong county for a family party, and might have drugs.

Let me throw Estonia into the bucket, and drop the asylum. Its easy to found a company there. You don't pay corporate tax, only a flat income tax, and you have access to EU market.

Finland is also an option and the market for good developers is hot right now. Drop me a line via Twitter - my username is in my profile - and I can do some intros if you decide to come here.

Edit: more info: http://www.migri.fi/asylum_in_finland

I've been trying to come to Finland to study. I became very interested about Finland after I saw some of the the things happening in Aalto University(Startup Saunna, Venture Garage and such). But my Residence Permit application was rejected last year and it was very frustrating. The rejection letter got lost in the mail and for the last six months my communication with the Finnish Immigration has been futile and I still don't know the reason of rejection.

Where are you now? It might be easier if you were to visit Finland first on a tourist visa and apply from here.

There's also been talk of having the Startup Life program (http://startuplife.fi/) take interns from abroad and get them to work for Finnish startups. That may be a good stepping stone for you. I'll ask around about it and get back to you via Twitter.

I'm in Bangladesh. I would've come to Finland on a tourist visa and apply from there, but looks like that is not allowed for my country. Do you think applying from any other EU countries can make things easier?

I would love to intern at a Finnish startup. I'll keep my eyes on twitter :)

My cousin also fled Syria and came to Germany. It wasn't that hard, but the work situation is indeed very difficult for people with asylum status.

If you leave for Sweden make sure you will seek these places that have a lot of Syrians, like the mentioned Södertälje. It will be much easier there to get help in all occurring matters. God knows, it is hard enough to flee your home country, so you should pick the easiest and most frictionless option possible.

It's very cold in Sweden. May not sound important, but people with genes from warmer countries get all kind of medical problems from the cold weather - joints are especially vulnerable.

Also Sweden is the poor neighbor of Norway and Denmark ;-)

Tsk, Norway may be the wealthiest due to their oil, but Sweden is wealthier than Denmark.

Yes, the weather and the cold people are basically the only downside. That and having Carl Bildt in any position of government.

What's wrong with Carl Bildt?

Gazprom, Sudan oil interests, Bilderberg group member and generally being a jerk.

I like him.

In the face of what antocv said, how can you possibly not qualify this comment?

Good politicians are experts at manipulating people to like them.

Another thing:

i dont know if this is true or not, but i heard you should avoid passing through Greece. Best option is to make your way to Turkey, and from there straight to Western Europe. And if possible, do not attempt to go alone, but travel with a group of people. You'll encounter a lot of people who will try to take advantage of you.

Another option, if you belong to a minority: Stick with your people, seek their centers and get their advise. (This may sound kind of racist. But Syria has a lot of minorities, each with a different approach to this situation. Don't be fooled, it is War, so everybody will rather help their people first. I don't make the rules...)

I'd say don't come to England either - Asylum claimants aren't allowed to work while their claim is processed. The claims take of the order of years to process, because there's a big backlog (some claims 5 or 10 years old, if I remember.)

(I won't go into the politics of the UKBA, but suffice to say that the people who are "customer facing" are the ones who shouldn't be allowed anywhere near vulnerable people - and removing them is politically impossible.)

Sweden sounds like a much better bet.

Can you survive in Sweden/Stockholm without speaking Swedish, just with English? Also, can you post any Sweden/Stockholm job posting sites where startups seek new hires?

Getting around on the streets is no problem, everybody in sweden speaks quite good english, even paperwork from bank/government can some times be found in english. Finding a job is possible but you only have 5% of the job market that natives do (95% of all statistics are made up on the spot), and that's assuming you are looking for a position that requires higher education. Finding a basic job such as being a waitress without native language is hard.

I got no specific startup hire sites, but the casual google search should yield the most common job sites, a resourceful person might even join a few linkedin groups and bait.

You can get by with just English, although that is not too common, be prepared to study Swedish, the more you learn Swedish and learn the mentality the easier it will be for you.

Seeking asylum in Germany is terrible, agreed, but it is so much easier to get a work permit visa here when you do have a job offer - good luck trying to get the work permit in the UK. In OP's case the best scenario would be to get a job offer from a Berlin based company and have the company apply for te work permit - it's a streamlined process that takes around 4 weeks.

Is going to Turkey from Syria safe? Maybe it makes sense to go to Iran first.

it is safe and easy, no visa required. but Israel is impossible as the countries are at war.

Indeed Israel would be impossible. Turkey seems to be the best option (but would require smuggling probably).

He should know that better than us, we are further away from the war. Possibly even going to Iraq first would be an option.

However, now I am reminded that Syria has banned all males 18-42 from leaving the country. So, it isnt easy, you basically have to escape through smuggle-lines/unguarded border.

EDIT: If I may speculate, the safest option would be to get to the coast and take a ship to anywhere that isnt Syria.

Another EDIT: Try to go to the kurdish areas, they will probably let you go to Turkey or Iraq.

Couldn't you dress yourself as a highly religious woman (using a burka)? You wear an attire covering your entire body, right? Not sure what rights religious people enjoy, but maybe you could pass as a woman.

Someone would stop you somewhere and ask WTF are you woman doing without your man, wait a minute, are you really a woman? Bang. Better be safe than sorry.

Also I dont believe it is very common with burkas in Syria.

I'm a Syrian hacker myself, and I can suggest you a better option. Go to Dubai, it is easy to get a visit visa first, if you are in damascus you can go through Beirut Airport as the path is still safe between the cities (got many friends coming through that route). then you can try to find a job in Dubai (should be easier as the economy is growing and since you speak the language), I myself know many startups and companies and will try to help you as well.

if you find a good job in Dubai you might give up the whole idea of moving to Europe as the standard of living is really high and the country is tax-free and amazing. but still you should be able to get a Schengen visit visa easily (especially if you work for a good company).

This of course is assuming the poster isn't female.

Do not go to Dubai if you are a woman.

Nothing compared to being in a war zone. Many foreign women live on their own in Dubai, working for multinationals, by choice.

One thing is to boycott it in principle, which either a man or a woman might want to do, and another is to rule it out as an alternative to Syria.

I worked in Dubai and that is not correct. It is not a major issue, but Dubai currently has tightened on visa requirements for Syrians and is next to impossible for Qatar also, which would have been another alternative. I am moving again to Dubai next month for a two year stint. If you know anyone in Dubai that can push for you to get a visa, make it your first choice. At least it will give you time to make your next move.

Not really, if you are a woman that would triple your chances of finding Jobs and great life.

The amount of respect and importance women get in Dubai is incomparable to any other country.

Rape victims can be jailed for over a year for "extramarital sex". That is not respect. http://www.ibtimes.com/dubai-safe-female-travelers-norwegian...

People like to generalize a lot.

for someone who lived in Dubai for 5+ years, I find those stories really strange. the city is really different than what you get from Media.

the government give a lot of privileges to western residents that's why the local population is nearly 18% of the total population.

Dubai has a lot of problems with its social system, but these sex/rape stories are definitely not the major ones, and its totally uncommon to read such stories.

I'd say the biggest problem is the treatment of foreign workers. Maybe foreign workers from "the west" get good treatment, but the ones bussed in from Asia, for example, aren't treated so well.

I agree, that's one good example of social inequality. though, to be fair, I think the rulers are trying to improve the laws and the culture, for a third-world country UAE can never be compared to any of its neighbours where women can't even drive.

> I think the rulers are trying to improve the laws and the culture

How? As I understand it the actual UAE citizens are getting 'fat' off of the oil money, so all of the menial labour work goes to poor foreigners that are bussed in from SE Asia. It's going to be difficult to change a culture of people that are used to poor Asians doing all of the 'crap jobs' for them while they just bask in money (so to speak).

> People like to generalize a lot.

Especially the mainstream media (MSM)...

This is the polar opposite of everything I ever read on Dubai.

I strongly support level09's comment. It's wiser than going to Europe for instance. Safer and with better perspective. Why would you want to go to Europe anyway? Compared to Dubai (especially since you speak the language) it provides harder living conditions and the whole process of getting and staying there is a pain. Also, sad but true: some European societies are plagued with either latent, or even blatant racism.

This sounds like a good plan - you've got a definite escape route and high probability of getting a comfortable life a the other end.

1. Keep your job with the Australian start up. 2. Fly to Malaysia. You don't need visa to enter the country. 3. Once you are in region in a safe place, you can figure out the next step. You will be in the most growing economic zone in the world. Don't go to Europe. Everybody's trying to get to Europe right now.

Find a lawyer in Germany, and get advice from them before you go.

My knowledge is both limited, 12+ years outdated, and restricted to the UK, but here is my tuppence-worth anyway:

1. It is both a legal and a bureaucratic process. 2. Apply for asylum at the first possible opportunity. At the border crossing-point or airport, if possible. 3. Don't lie. 4. Be prepared with documentary evidence to back up any statements that you are going to make. 5. If possible, have documentary evidence that you are facing persecution, or that your life is in danger. (Sounds silly in the current situation, I know, but anyway...) 6. Make sure that a friendly party (or your lawyer) has a copy of these documents.

It might be easier, if the danger looks like it is going to be temporary, to reach out and try to get somebody to "host" you, and go on a visitor's visa.

I second what w_t_payne said. The following are just some ideas, please keep in mind that I'm no lawyer! This is no legal advice at all!

If you do have relatives in Germany, that might be a route to explore. I heard something in the news, that this may be an option.

For working though, that's going to be a tough one. Reading the Wikipedia article (http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arbeitserlaubnis) right, it states that: "Asylbewerber dürfen für die ersten 12 Monate überhaupt nicht arbeiten (§ 61 Abs. 2 AsylVfG), anschließend gilt ein nachrangiger Arbeitsmarktzugang nach der BeschVerfV (siehe oben)." Which translates to: people seeking asylum must not take up any employment for the first 12 month.

As well as "Asylberechtigte, Konventionsflüchtlinge (§ 25 Abs. 1 und 2 AufenthG) sowie Ausländer mit einer Niederlassungserlaubnis (§ 9 Abs. 1 AufenthG) haben nach dem Aufenthaltsgesetz ein Recht auf Erwerbstätigkeit.", which transaltes to: people granted asylum (and some others) holding a residence permit, are allowed to work.

That's both ends of the spectrum, so there may be some middle ground after 12 month. I'm not lawyer though!

Finally, I think, maybe the folks from PRO Asyl may be the right ones to ask. See: http://www.proasyl.de/en/contact/

PS: regarding hosting, from my exprience it's a somewhat lengthy progress, depending on the regonal administration. Your host will have to provide financial standing for your stay (requirements differ for the duration of your stay), with that he or she has to send that document certifying the financial standing as well as a signed invitation to you (the original), with which you have to go to the german emabassy in your country and apply for a temporary visa.

Sorry about your situation.

Are you Syrian? It may be easier to get to a country that does not require you having a visa then you decide on what to do later. As a dev, you can work remotely and earn money.

Check this out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visa_requirements_for_Syrian_ci....

Best of luck man.

That's great information. I'd get out of there now; Equador doesn't require a visa and looks like a great place to go and work out what to do next.

Yes, I agree. In the worst case you do not have time to follow any asylum or inmigration procedures.

Be careful if you are tempted by Australia, in light of your employer. Refugees are a huge political issue in the current federal election and the two major parties are competing to see who can be the most inhumane. The Australia government is ignoring the UN refugee convention, with refugees without a visa being forcibly, and permanently, exported to Manus Island. The catch 22 is that the Australian government won't hand out a visa if there is any inkling that a person might be a refugee, so the phrase "without a visa" can be replaced with "all". Be cautious of researching refugee issues under your own identity, if you intend to apply for an Australian visa.

If you can get an Australia work visa and make it onto Australian soil, you might be able to circumvent the "no visa" rule. In this case, be wary of the possibility of detention, possibly indefinite, inside Australia. Australian officials will also do their best to keep a new arrival ignorant of their rights, allowing them to be deported, so find out exactly what your rights are and what the procedure and legally correct wording is to claim asylum and activate the UN process.

If considering Australia, perhaps get some advice from an expert, such as Sr Pat Sealey [1]? (Presumably she can be contacted though her order's South Australian address [2].)

[1] http://www.catholicreligiousaustralia.org/index.php/news-a-v...

[2] http://www.sosj.org.au/contact/2col-index.cfm?loadref=6


Edit: I'll add that it is not clear to me whether the automatic deportation only applies to refugees who arrive by boat, or to any refugee that arrives without a visa.

Further edit: My comment about indefinite detention in Australia applies if you arrive on a work visa then claim asylum, not if you are actually working and have not claimed asylum.

I am not an expert so don´t take my word for it. But I heard that a general role has always been that you have to get to the country you which to have asylum in in order to apply. European union is discussion a banded that rule for Syria but I dont know the status of that decision. An other rule is that you have to apply for asylum in the first country you get into.

However... Sweden also spend lots of money on a virtual embassy in second life. Read more about it here: http://www.sweden.se/eng/Home/Lifestyle/Reading/Second-Life/

Maybe you can do a think of virtually applying for visa in sweden and write a pressrelease and push it on mynewsdesk.com. Startup community is also big in Sweden and we need skilled developers (Im swedish).

Carl Bildt,Foreign Minister of Sweden since 2006 (https://twitter.com/carlbildt) is very active on twitter and in my guess most likely to respond to a virtual request for visa by twitter and second life. This is a long shot but something you can try by your computer.

When you get visa in any EU country it is easy to move to germany and travel over boarders within EU.

Hi. To get asylum in Germany is difficult.

First of all, make sure that you take a direct flight to Germany. If you enter any other European Country before, you have to get asylum there.

Second and maybe more important. If you try to get an asylum in Germany, you are not allowed to work for the first year. It's crazy and doesn't make any sense.

If you still want to get here. And it's a great city. Here is the Email address of the refugee help in Berlin: buero@fluechtlingsrat-berlin.de

You use the word asylum, which has a very specific meaning, but if you can find a skilled job, you might be able to migrate to another country through more conventional and less bureaucratic means. IANAL, but those are my 2 cents.

Forget Germany as an asylum target. Our politicians have massively restricted asylum acceptance and even for those who do get accepted it's a hell of a fight and even more paperwork.

Also, you have the problem that you likely won't even be able to enter the European Union, except if you smuggle yourself via the Turkish-Greek border - but then again, the Germans simply fly you to Greece because this is the place where you entered the European Union technically.

Sorry for your situation and I hope you stay safe!

If you smuggle yourself via the Turkish-Greek border then you are stuck in the wonderful country of Greece forever basically. High unemployment, laws that are really unfriendly to asylum seekers (less than 2% acceptance rate) and the nazist party (facepalm..) has risen from obscurity to 5% in the latest elections, to 15% in the polls... So less than ideal environment for a programmer :)

Too many people have gone that route and now are stuck here because of that Dublin 2 convention that will return asylum seekers to the country that they entered the EU in the first place... So do whatever you can to avoid Greece as an entry country to EU. Try Sweden, you would love it except for the weather :)

There are some schemes in place that make it easier for non-EU nationals to get a work permit in Germany, it would require you to find an employer that pays a wage above a certain threshold (I believe it's called Blue Card).

A really helpful english-speaking source for any expat information on Germany is the http://toytowngermany.com/forum forum, especially the lengthy thread on visas and work permits: http://www.toytowngermany.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=4675...

Here's the thread for the Blue Card scheme: http://www.toytowngermany.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=2673...

Hope that helps a tiny bit and good luck!

Edit: Another link to official information on the Blue card: http://www.bluecard-eu.de/eu-blue-card-germany/

The threshold for a blue card work permit as a developer has been lowered to 36.192 Euro a few months ago. You just need to get a proper work contract to be eligible for the visa.

Becoming a refugee is a bad idea. Get a schengen visa, go to a country like Latvia, show them your references, bank statement with decent documented income, open a company (costs 1000-2000 EUR), and get a residence visa. Takes a few months but you can live most of that time on a 90/180 schengen visa, maybe leaving out 1 or max 2 months which you can spend at home or in a non-schengen European country like Cyprus, which is also close to you that helps. Then get your residence visa and go to Germany - that will not be entirely legal (you'll be supposed not to spend outside of a country where you visa is more than half of your time), but with no borders within Schengen, it is hard to check, and if you don't want to get officially hired for a fulltime job in Berlin (which is hardly your intention), you'll have no problem.

You can do that right in Germany, but may take more cash and time, you will always be able to switch a country once your startup gets going and you are more relaxed cash-wise.

And yes, being a refugee sucks. Forget it.

Caveat: i have no first-hand experience of getting a residence visa in Germany. It might turn out simpler than i fear, with other posters hinting that. I did that in Cyprus and Czech Republic though.

I would also advise against Germany, one of the problems is that people who seek asylum in Germany are not allowed to work. ( I know nothing about other countries, but if you work for an Australian company, it would perhaps best to ask them for help.)

Good luck and stay safe.

I would follow yk's advice: it is much easier to get a Visum when you are invited to work for a company. Is asking the startup for employment an option?

I think you are likely to have greater luck on a working visa than as an 'asylum' seeker (which European governments consider themselves flooded by, and you'll have to prove specific persecution in your home country rather than skills in your job). What you need is the right visa which your skills can qualify you for and will lead to permanent residency or citizenship. This will vary by country. A difficulty with Germany may be that a lot of the process will be hard to understand if you can't read German.

Good luck to you. I (white Australian) visited Syria a few years ago. Every piece of news I hear now from Syria just saddens me.

I am not sure what would be the "best" next step, but I want to leave Syria asap. Planning to move to Iraq first then I will go for the next destination. As far as discussed seems I dont need asylum because I do have some skill set that can be fit into a job market. But will I be able to live there for couple of years? This is getting crazy here and I dont know how long I will have the internet connection and other to work in my remote job(though my employer is very helpful). Seems next couple of days will make my way for at least next couple of years of my life.

I would advise against the asylum route for all the reasons that others have already mentioned.

What you could do right now is to travel to Turkey and apply for a German tourist visa there. Once you are in Germany and out of harm's way you can think about your next steps.

This page says that the German embassy in Ankara or the Istanbul consulate will process your visa application while the Damascus office remains closed: http://www.ankara.diplo.de/Vertretung/ankara/de/06__Visa/Vis...

Here are the tourist visa guidelines in arabic: http://www.beirut.diplo.de/contentblob/3951508/Daten/3401582...

I wish you the best of luck!

I don't know if I'm late on this or not. Anyway, you may want to go to Thailand for some time. Live on tourist Visa, renew them in neighbouring countries while enjoying time off. You could easily spend about a year without running into any Visa problem and work remotely for the Australian company. There are a couple of startups there (http://playbasis.com for example) and many startup guys spend a sizeable amount of time working from there while enjoying life. I suppose it would give you time to prepare for your next move. I can help with anything Thailand-related if you need (though I'm back in Europe now). As I see things, Europe is not the immigration heaven it used to be although there's room for skilled workers due recent policies in most countries. Either way, it won't be simple.


As an asylum-seeker you are not allowed to work in Germany. You will be “stored” in a camp and are forced to stay there until you can move back to Syria. Better go to a Scandinavian country, where you will be treated as a human beeing.

As a german I am ashamed to read this, because I have to agree. Embarrassing.

I used to live next to a shelter like that, and the thing is a total shithole. Walls destroyed, stinks like hell, major crime around the shelter. A week before I left a 11 year old girl was gang-raped by the asylees. I do not blame germans who decide it's best for them to just send the asylum seekers back to their own countries.

I disagree.

The main principle of humanitarian help is very valuable. We shall not abandon our core values, just because some people go ahead and cheat on us. Yes, some do. I know that and I don't like that either.


In general every person on the planet should be able to live peacefully and in dignity and if leaders in other countries do not build a system that is capable of providing this for all inhabitants, we should give them asylum and protect them from harassment.

Regarding those who are leaving their country and seeking asylum only for economical reasons, trying to escape poverty and a bleak future prospect, we shall not forget that a lot of our wealth is build on exploiting other countries. Our wealth is built on a system, that lets money and goods flow while disallowing the same freedom for people.

No, there is no excuse for rape and there never can be.

But before we judge these people we should always reconsider: Why are they here? What is their situation in the country where they come from? What kind of chance do they have in their country? What kind of chance do they have here? Do we give them a chance to behave and act well?

I refuse to follow the growing mob that does not reflect on the global situation, that does not differentiate and treats every foreigner the same, that suspects that every refugee is a criminal, dirty and trying to rape our children.

Germany is difficult, but not impossible. As an alternative you could try not to get asylum, but a blue card (EU). Unfortunately you'll need a university degree + yearly incoming in 2013 of 46.400 OR uni degree + special demand in germany (IT is such an area) + yearly income of 36.192.

The good thing is, according to my research the income requirement is floating. In other terms, you just need an income which is "usual for your region".

Of course, you would need a visa too.

What I am trying to suggest is you search an potential employer first and ask him to deal with the visa/eu card details. That way you wouldn't get the german citizenship in first glance; not sure if you really aim at that or if you would like to return after the war.

Anyway you can reach citizenship after living 8 years in germany (please note there are some restrictions, like no criminal acts, accepting liberal and democratic orders and so on).

I believe with your skills you might have a good chance to find a position in the Berlin or even Munich scene. Just prepare a CV and try to contact as many startups as you can. Look out for guides like this: http://www.berlinstartup.de/startup-guide.php http://berlinstartupjobs.com/

Good luck and take care mate.

Links: http://www.arbeitsagentur.de/nn_566780/Dienststellen/besonde...


(german, despite they aim for migrants. Send them to potential employers).

One of the reason for choosing Germany as some of my friends are living there, though I dont know will it help or not. And after the discussion seems its better not to get asylum.

Hey, maybe you try this page: http://www.make-it-in-germany.com/en/

Here you can make a quick check if you are eligible of getting a EU Blue Card for Germany: http://www.make-it-in-germany.com/en/making-it/quick-check/

This information might be useful for you as well: "By the way: are you still job-hunting and would like to look for a post that corresponds to your qualifications in Germany? In that case, you are entitled to a six-month visa. The condition is that you have a university degree and are able to support yourself while you stay in Germany. Please note that the visa entitling you to hunt for jobs does not entitle you to work. Once you find a suitable post, you can immediately apply for the appropriate residence permit while, of course, remaining in Germany. You can apply for the visa to the German mission abroad in your area. They will tell you exactly which conditions you have to fulfill to be able to apply."

  I honestly don't know much about the visa situation that everyone is talking about, but it really sounds to me like you should first leave on a tourist visa (vacation, conference, whatever), ASAP, and then figure out the actual legal situation. 

  You could just go to a different country that doesn't have a war, rent an apartment there with an internet connection, and continue to work for the Australian company. You are already remote, what does it matter where you live?

I've reached out the guy who runs berlinstartupjobs.com and asked him to ping his database of employers. Do check it out as well. All the best.

Hey Arnold, there are several ways and I don't know--given the current situation that you're not the only one--which works best. So let me give you a series of suggestions to follow up:

First, see the German Foreign Office's FAQ and visa regulations:



Since many are coming as refugees from Syria, it could be an idea to apply for a regular visa, either for working or studying in Germany. Note that the German mission in Damascus is closed and you have to contact any embassy or mission outside Syria. They suggest using the embassy in Beirut. Problem is that you need to translate all paper stuff to German and I can't estimate the time it takes. Usually it's 2-10 days for visits under 90 days, it can take longer (even months) for visits over 90 days or working permits.

If you come for work, you need an invitation from an employer. But I don't know how long the handling takes with the mission (they have to okay it first), especially since the Damascus mission is down.

Perhaps you qualify for the EU Blue Card (skilled immigrants):



If that's an option, look into the conditions for studying in Germany.

Wish you all the best. Tough times.

I don't really have anything to offer but I do want to wish you good luck, I hope you get out safely.

Same here. Best of luck to you.

An intermediate option might be moving to Lebanon temporarily. It is still relatively (to syria) safe. As a Syrian, you dont need visa or residency permit. You can continue your work from here and figure out your next move; namely apply for immigration visas here-and-there.

I work at a berlin startup that is interested in the skillset that you posted. Send me a mail to irit.applebaum {at} gmail.com and ill try to help you.

Don't waste any time, get out of the country asap on regular touristic visa. Usually it means you can stay "on a vacation" for up to 30 days at once and 3 months in total (you just cross the border and return), which should be enough to see what's going on with Syria. Legally you can't work, but if you already have an online job no one will stop you to continue working. If the war starts you can then obtain the refugee status in that country on the basis that you can't return to your homeland. The refugee status doesn't mean that you have to stay in that country, as an educated refugee you can apply for a work visa in other countries through their embassies.

If one EU state offers you asylum, which shouldn't be too hard because your country is notoriously dangerous, then you can work anywhere in the EU. So you could get asylum from Italy or France, then move to Berlin when you have your papers, which takes several months during which you can't have a declared job (in France, they may make sure you don't work by sending you to a transit camp, which is basically a jail).

If you tell them you're an experimented software engineer, it may be much faster to get a work visa than asylum. Ask for this work visa to each embassy in Damascus.

Also, Morrocoan cities are growing like crazy. There may be some business to do there and they may give visas more easily.

Well, everyone else has given an idea about why you shouldn't go to Berlin.

In case you have a powerful reason for still going there, a few quick points: English is not that common, but is far more common than in the neighboring cities - you probably won't be super comfortable, but you'll survive. If you are on a budget and/or planning to live on whatever money you already have, Berlin is much cheaper than any of the other countries mentioned. There's also a very large Turkish community, in case that means something for you.

Keep in mind all the negative comments mentioned, though. This points are valid when you are a regular citizen, but as a refugee they might not apply.

I'm not an expert. But if you are seeking asylum, you will not be allowed to work for about a year. The biggest problem with Asylum in Germany is probably how to enter Germany before any of the other countries between Germany and Syria...

You might try a "blue card", if you can get a good salary. But I am not sure how easy that is from Syria at the moment...

Also keep in mind that islamophobia in Germany is rising across the board. And no, my fellow Germans generally make no distinction between copts, syrian christians or muslims.

I would take any option because safety trumps analysis paralysis. It may also possible to build up to working remotely for US-based startups, 37signals or github style. And if you happen to later find a place with low expenses and good healthcare, that would be even better.

  - Canada (Vancouver especially)
  - Denmark
  - Finland
  - France
  - Germany 
  - Netherlands
  - Sweden
The US is out for USG failure and lack of universal healthcare.

I'm in Berlin startup scene and I can tell you that is quite easy to get a working permit as a software dev, basically only thing you need besides your passport is an employment contract with more than 33k€ per year. (search term: blue card)

Don't go the asylum way if you have the software skills. Blue card is much easier and a safe bet.

The processing can take up to 6-8 weeks though…

And as for language, at least in Berlin tech companies, english is the language of business…

It would be easier to escape to Turkey first. Later on you can try your chances with European countries via their embassies in Ankara or Istanbul.

You're welcome to come to Israel, we have a booming startup scene here.

Upvoted for the humor.

Might be a bit hard as a Syrian citizen...

German here. I think asylum isn't what you want. If the company in Australia that you worked for can not help you get in touch with companies in Germany. Tell them what you can do for them and about your situation. A lot companies are used to employ IT professionals from all over the world and know how to do get you here.

i feel your pain. its unfortunate to be Syria now, i heard recently Sweden is approving asylum applications in the EU on a smaller scale. call the embassy to double check.

anyhow forward me your CV and email and let's connect, tech-wise we are recruiting node.js - backend dev if this could help. here's my contact: swissnamir@gmail.com

You might find this Wikipedia article helpful in case you change your mind about Germany: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visa_requirements_for_Syrian_ci...

Hi I will update this post, but I think you have several options. Try to get to any country you can that is in Schengen, once you are in you can carry on your freelance work, apply for working visa and go to Berlin for interviews. If you find a company to work for they will help you out, almost every country is in demand for devs.

I theory, I believe you may just come to Europe and if you state at the border that you seek an asylum they can't refuse you ( according to international laws, until your asylum is decided on ) and then take it from there.

Turkey is the closest country you don't need a visa for.

I will make an update but in any case don't double-check everything yourself, those are few things I vaguely remember from school.

Manwin Montreal (pornhub,brazzers, basically all the relevant porn sites) is always looking for people. From what I can tell we ship in a lot of guys from other countries. The HR team seems to be on top of that.

try it out, we might be able to bring you in.


select the montreal office :)

Good luck.

If you want to get a job in Berlin quickly, post it here:


Berlin is one of the most peaceful cities I ever lived in.

We're looking for a Python hacker in a personalization & analytics startup Filmaster.TV. We're based in Warsaw, Poland. It shouldn't be a problem getting a work permit. We're already hiring an American guy and we've been through the procedure. Read about the job and the company here: http://filmaster.tv/jobs.html and if you're interested, happy to talk on hangout.

This is one of the best uses of Ask HN I've seen in a long time.

Best of luck.

I think if western countries are too hard for you you should try some eastern Europe ones. They have few if any request for asylum. Also visas and permits might be easier to get. You might do it faster, as there are no lines, and after move on to your wanted country. Once you are in EU, borders are pretty much open. although do your research before, I sadly cant give more advice at the moment

Just as a heads up, Sweden have decided to give anyoneleaving Syria permanent residence because of whats happening.

The info is in Swedish but maybe you want to Google Translate it or something.


1) Get a job in the EU. 2) Have your employer work through all the necessary hassles for you to move there from their end. It will be much easier than you trying to do this in Syria and most European employers will have experience with this.

I don't know about Germany but I know in Amsterdam booking.com is always looking for smart folks.

We're a Berlin-based tech company that has successfully hired programmers from the Middle East, so we have some experiences with the Blue Card visa process and helping with to relocate to Berlin. The good news is, we're still actively recruiting so please get in touch if we can help you: aberlincompany@gmail.com

Get EU citizenship from the nearest EU member Bulgaria. Lots of Syrian refugees get EU IDs here. Good luck.

I am no expert on asylum situations, but my impression is that the first country in the European zone that you enter is the one that decides which asylum rules you'll follow. You need to speak to a lawyer. Sorry I can't provide any more insight than this. Good luck.

1) Get on a plane to UK 2) cut your passport into very small parts and get rid of just after landing 3) ???? (don't tell where are you from) 4) Profit after 3-4 months waiting for asylum.

At least that was standard tactics from people from arabic countries. Never say where are you from!

IMHO, it is easier to follow the rules. If you have a genuine need for asylum, then the UK is obliged, under international law, to offer it.

What the UK is not obliged to do is put up with people who try to pull a fast one; and there are a lot of those around, moresthepity.

If you present yourself honestly to the UKBA officials, with a genuine need for asylum, with relevant documentation, telling the truth, and not trying to be dodgy in any way, they will (in all probability) grant you the right to remain in the UK for a limited time.

Work with them, not against them, and they will work with you. If you have a genuine case, they are there to help you.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of people that they see are (very bad) liars, so a lot of asylum-seekers get rejected, on the basis that nothing that they say can be trusted. Of course, they have the right to appeal that judgement, but if you lie, you will get caught out, and the appeal will be rejected.

or they will put you in temporary house and send back to syria just so you can be presented to officials.

Might be worth contacting these guys for advice: http://www.deutschsyrischegesellschaft.de/ (I just googled my way to this, so I don't know how helpful they are)

Your best solution might be to move to whatever country will be most likely to accept your asylum request (and preferably will let you continue to remotely work) and then apply for a work visa to a country with more of a tech scene.

Have you tried the UN Refugee Agency? http://www.unhcr.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/home

Not yet, thanks for the link.

Asylum and Work are 2 different things and in germany they accept only one. 1. Asylum and you cant work. 2. Work, but for that you need many many papers and time.

Came across this today. http://m.thelocal.se/50030/20130903/

I have posted link to this thread in Polish Startup Scene group, maybe we can help. Getting a work permit in Poland is not hard and Germany is close by.

Good luck mate hope things will work out fine for you.

Might be a silly question for some reason but why don't you try and get your Australian company to sponsor you for immigration to Australia?

I really hope this isn't a scam. I would recommend heading to Northern European countries, specifically the Netherlands and Sweden.

I'm no expert. But your chances in Brittain are a lot higher i presume (no passport even required).

But you should check up on that first though :)

It depends from where you come from. For Syrian citizens visa is required for Brattain. In fact, for all European countries it is required.


Sweden just decided to grant permanent asylum to anyone who decides to leave Syria. I thought that could be interesting.

You should try Ireland. There's a plenty of IT jobs and it's easier to come in than the rest of Europe.

Not easy for non-EU citizens, unemployment rate is very high. To be able to move there you have to find a job with 60K salary.

Independent of all the visa advice, keep yourself safe!

Try and stay away from England, they'll tax you right down to the amount of hairs you have on your nuts.

I'd be curious what a fellow hacker on the other side of the world thinks about the current situation.

German immigration lawyers who specialise in software developers. I can recommend them. http://www.vpmk.de/

Berlin is very welcoming to qualified software devs. Best of luck!

Is it really? Would love to work in Berlin for a while.

Fight for your homeland, don't just run away and pass off your problems to others.

Also encourage Americans to stop their drone-crazed, war-hungry, spy-happy, immigration-positive President (or at least to change his mind).

War should be used when there are serious threats. Lately, the USA and Europe have been using war to overthrow the powerful so that mass culture can take over.

This is culturally akin to forcibly installing a McDonald's on every street corner.

It's easy to say that from the comfort of your home it's quite different when you might face dying in a crossfire or in another drone attack.

I'm facing the collapse of my homeland and intervening. Are you in denial, or part of the solution?


Gå iväg troll

Is there any way to report people like him?

The summer holidays will be over soon.

Why would you report him?

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