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ZAV Pre-Approval / Vorabprüfung


because there are so many questions and confusion about the so called 'Pre-Approval' and because of the problems faced by applicants for the German work permit I attache a letter which could help you.

The German Consulates world wide ask for a letter from the Federal Employment Agency where it is stated that they have checked your job description, your employment contract and your degrees and that you are eligible for the German work permit. The problem is, that they do not check and do not give such a letter in case your yearly salary is above 53.600,- € ! The idea is, that someone who earns this much must be highly qualified and there is no need to do this extra work.

Some visa officers do not know this and insist on the letter.

I talked to the Federal Employment Agency and explained the problem. They answered that they know about this, but that they can not change it and I should contact the Foreign Office in Berlin, Department 508.

I do not expect fast results so I attache the letter they send to me, that you can print it and take it to the Consulate that you can show it to your visa officer. Maybe it helps..


Good luck




Natürlich brauchen wir ein Gesetz zur Steuerung der Zuwanderung und zum Anwerben von Fachkräften. Die Wirtschaft fordert dies seit vielen Jahren, eigentlich schon seit mindestens zwei Jahrzehnten, aber wie immer brauchen Politiker viel, viel länger bis sie etwas verstehen oder wenigstens einsehen.


Es wird sicher keine einfache Umsetzung dieses Planes geben, denn warum sollte man ein erprobtes und erfolgreiches Gesetz wie das kanadische einfach kopieren und anpassen, wenn es auch viel komplizierter geht! Also wird es ein neues, ein deutsches Gesetz geben, endlos diskutiert von ‚Fachleuten‘ aller Parteien und der Medien und am Ende wird ein weiteres bürokratisches Gesetzeswerk stehen, das den Firmen die dringend Fachleute suchen unnötige Hindernisse schafft.






















Ein Beispiel: Für die Einstellung von IT-Experten nach der sogenannten Blue Card Regelung muss die Bundesagentur für Arbeit ihre Zustimmung erteilen, einen sogenannten ‚Arbeitsmarktcheck‘ durchführen, um zu prüfen ob nicht ein Deutscher oder ein Bürger anderer EU Staaten für diesen Job bereit stünde.


Wenn es so wäre.. warum sollte die deutsche Firma beispielsweise einen Inder einstellen, Zuschüsse für den Umzug zahlen, Sprachkurse finanzieren und weitere Zusatzkosten in Kauf nehmen, wenn es einen deutschen für die Stelle gäbe?


Dann die Überprüfung selbst.. Wie soll ein Mitarbeiter der Agentur für Arbeit beurteilen, ob es ausreichend Spezialisten für Java, Embedded Systems, DevOp, C++ , Frontend, Backend, UIX und so weiter gibt. Von den meisten Begriffen wird er noch nie zuvor gehört haben!


Die einzige Bedingung die meiner Ansicht nach Sinn macht ist die Zahlung eines Mindestlohnes, um Lohndumping zu verhindern.


Ich hoffe sehr, dass ich mich irre und das alles viel besser und einfacher wird!


Ein Riesenproblem existiert allerdings bereits und es wird sich mit dem neuen Gesetz noch 100 mal vergrößern. Die deutschen Vertretungen im Ausland, die Botschaften und Konsulate, sind bereits jetzt völlig überfordert und können die Anträge auf Arbeitserlaubnisse nicht bewältigen. In Indien dauert es schon bis zu 5 Monate um einen ersten Termin bei der Visastelle zu erhalten, in anderen Ländern dauert es noch länger, in Teheran z.B. mehr als 1 Jahr.


Experten die bereits in Deutschland arbeiten müssen viele Monate warten, bis Ihre Anträge auf Familienzusammenführung bearbeitet werden.


Wir reden hier über Spezialisten die auch in anderen Ländern gesucht werden. Es geht um den Wettbewerb um die ‚besten Köpfe‘ und Deutschland ist hier durch diese langen Bearbeitungszeiten ganz klar benachteiligt, als würde die Sprachbarriere nicht genügen.


Ein Experte soll hochmotiviert sein Bestes geben, wenn er dann nach der Arbeit nach Hause kommt ist die Wohnung leer und einsam, denn seine Kinder und seine Frau warten seit Monaten auf einen Termin bei der Visa Stelle.


Detlef von Hellfeld

Be the one to bridge the gap

Without determination, nothing can be done. Wavering minds and faltering steps will never carry us forward in the path of progress. We must think before we take a step, but once we decide, hesitation is not a virtue but a sign of definite weakness.’ These lines by one of my favourite political icons have forever inspired and motivated me. They keep me going no matter what.



Have you ever sat at the corner of your table, sipping tea and pondering over that one achievement which totally changed the course of your life? Think and think hard. Something that was not incumbent on you, yet you chose to do and today you realize how it was just the right thing you did. Being multi lingual is not easy but it gives you an edge over others. In this era of global competition by being multi lingual one can easily outmanoeuvre even the toughest of competitors.The knowledge of different languages makes you stay connected to the world outside and lends you visibility over your peers.That’s precisely what each one of us wants. Master a foreign language to be better placed in life, that’s the new success mantra.

Since we are residing in Germany, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty and talk about the hurdles we face each day owing to lack of understanding of German. I know the idea of learning German is not palatable to many of us, in fact, it gives majority of us night mares, but truth be told, no German, no gain! In most of the bigger German cities, one doesn’t really need to know German to survive. Literally, most people, if not all of them, speak English fairly well, one could easily get away without having to sweat over German. Something to sigh about, really? Unarguably, most of us would feel relieved at not having to learn German but then that’s not the way out. Who would fancy being stagnant, off course, no one. It was you who chose Germany for reasons best known to you, now that you are here, why not make it your dream destination by overcoming the one big snag which is preventing you from assimilating in German society. For better integration, for better acceptance, for better career growth, learning German is vital, at least the rudimentary knowledge of German. Language issues overshadow our day to day life and begin to take a toll on us, sooner or later. Learning anything new has its own tests and trials, so is true with German.  However, once you start getting the knack of it, learning German would be much fun.


Spaß beim Deutsch lernen


In due course, you will find it becoming your biggest asset. Language barriers are frustrating, especially, if your work environment is predominately German. Unable to freely communicate with your colleagues, unable to correctly understand what is being spoken about, unable to share jokes with your peers to liven up the mood, eating lunch alone as you can’t participate in the conversation held at the lunch table and when you return home you can’t freely interact with your neighbours other than smiling sheepishly, all this creates a havoc around you. The only atonement for you is ‘Shake off the laziness and rise up to learn’. Language incapability can make you feel left out, depressed and after day’s work when you return home you come to another isolation which completely cuts you off from your surroundings and neighbourhood. Basically, you see a dejected you in the mirror, and not the one who came to Germany with a million dreams in his/her eyes.

On the other hand, by learning German you can easily venture into German culture, read the mental framework of the locals and comprehend their background, which are needed to drive innovation, creativity and progress. A pragmatic approach to dealing with life in Germany would be to first master the language. By your language incapability, you would eventually lose out on a land which could offer you tonnes of good luck in terms of a brilliant future, steady career growth; essentially lending wings to your dreams. It can’t be emphasized enough how valuable this language can prove to you and what greater leverage can it provide for a brighter more lucrative tomorrow.

Once you learn German, you will feel much empowered and uplifted as though you have broken free from all the shackles that were holding you back. Today’s world is all about marketing and having German skills on your resume enables you to market yourself in a much sturdier manner. You become more bankable and those formidable gates to some of the best jobs in the region which once seemed tightly locked suddenly start opening for you. Germany is home to some of the top-notch players to work in namely, BMW, Volkswagen, Siemens, Bosch, Lufthansa, Deloitte, Bayer, Hugo Boss, Adidas, Telekom, Allianz etc. Who wouldn’t fancy being associated with such great brands.

If you have long term plans in Germany, then der to learn German!

German like all languages comes with its own challenges, particularly, the mind-boggling grammar with its excruciating exceptions, but do not panic, that can be worked out. As you start picking up the language, it will offer you much resilience and you will forget all the tears that you shed trying to get hold of those dreadful Nominativ, Dativ, Accusativ And Genetiv cases.  It’s tricky to learn German but due to its proximity to English as both share the same origin, Proto Germanic, English speakers might find it relatively easy to get grasp of the language. Unlike, many other languages like Mandarin, Arabic, Russian, Hindi etc. there are no alien alphabets other than the umlauts and ß which is nothing but a stylish German alphabet for ‘s’.

The current schooling system in Germany is designed in a manner that every German citizen can converse in English in some way or the other, even if it is broken and not fluent. But what is acknowledged the most is your ability to communicate with them in their native tongue, this tactic instantly puts you on firm footing and leaves your mark on the minds of people and voila!

Should you be in Germany, don’t downplay the importance of learning German. Just imagine, the next time you get your utility bills, at least, you would be relieved of one pain, the pain of google translating, but off course, you will still have to pay there’s no cure for that.

You do you but gear up for German. Bid adieu to your language fears and hesitations. Let's get started!!

Indische Botschaft Berlin - Workshop

Am 12. Dezember 17 war ich Gast in der Indischen Botschaft Berlin. Die Botschafterin, Frau Mukta D. Tomar, hatte indische Firmen die in Deutschland tätig sind eingeladen, über Ihre Erfahrungen zu berichten. 


Die überwiegende Mehrzahl der rund vierzig Teilnehmer waren Inder, Vertreter teils sehr namhafter und renommierter Firmen und die Redner waren sich in einem Punkt einig.. wer in Deutschland Geschäfte machen will sollte die deutsche Sprache beherrschen.


Viele der großen Firmen berichteten, dass sie deutsche Mitarbeiter beschäftigen, um die Chancen zur Geschäftsentwicklung zu verbessern. Für viele kleinere und auch mittlere Firmen ist dies aber nicht möglich. Darum bietet trust7 Consulting auch gezielt Unterstützung bei Verhandlungen an, indem ein deutschsprachiger trust7 Mitarbeiter bei Meetings hinzugezogen werden kann.


Es gab noch andere interessante Ansichten über Deutschland und unsere Geschäftskultur, zum Beispiel das deutsche Firmen perfekte Produkte/Services erwarten, obwohl sie selbst auch nicht perfekt sind und das Pünktlichkeit vorausgesetzt wird, aber am wichtigsten war allen die Sprache.



Des Weiteren wurde über Schwierigkeiten bei der Finanzierung und das Image indischer Firmen gesprochen. In beiden Punkten gab es eine breite Übereinstimmung darin, dass hier noch viel Arbeit zu leisten ist, um die Situation zu verbessern.


In diesem Zusammenhang habe ich darauf hingewiesen, dass eine Firmenwebsite in deutscher Sprache ein Mindeststandard sein sollte.


Ich bin auch der Meinung, dass es viel zu wenig aktuelle Informationen über Indien gibt und dass viele Deutsche ein längst überholtes und falsches Bild von diesem so interessanten und expandierenden Land haben. Ich nehme mich davon nicht aus!


Meine Erfahrungen in den vergangenen 18 Jahren, sowohl mit indischen Firmen als auch mit indischen Angestellten, waren jedenfalls ausgesprochen positiv und ich gespannt, was die Zukunft für uns bereit hält.

Writing for User Interfaces

This article first appeared in the Simply Secure Knowledge Base.

The writing in your user interface is an opportunity to encourage people to use your product. Writing in interfaces includes everything from the words in an in-app setup tutorial to a website's navigation menu. Because there is both technical complexity and high stakes for user failure, careful language is key to getting mass audiences to adopt secure communication tools.

Good writing for an interface, also called user-experience (UX) copywriting, does two things:

  1. it explains how things work, and
  2. it creates an emotional reaction with the user.


Explanations in language people understand

Explaining how things work isn't straightforward. Many secure communication apps struggle with conveying too much technical information to an overwhelmed user who, for example, doesn't care about the difference between DSA and RSA keys. Careful UX copywriting avoids this pitfall.

Even a simple explanation can create a negative emotional reaction when it sounds like jargon to a general audience. Jargon is off-putting, whether it's Silicon Valley buzzwords or bureaucratic govermentese, because it conveys that the service is untrustworthy. To stamp out jargon, Mail Chimp's Content Style Guide on GitHub includes this list of words to avoid using.They've flagged a bunch of corporate-speak words as inappropriate. Mail Chimp is a sales tool for sending customized email and newsletters, so "Incentivizing your ninjas to crush it!" could be a reasonable explanation of their value to their customers who are marketing professionals, but their writing is careful to use vocabulary that is accessible to a broader audience.

Reducing the need for support

With good UX copywriting directly in the interface, the need for training and other kinds of support decreases. Consider this excerpt from 18F's writing guide for U.S. Government websites:

"FAQs are bad. We don't like them. If you write content by starting with user needs, you won't need to use FAQs. … If you're thinking about adding FAQs, consider reviewing the content on your website that is generating questions and think about how you can change the content or design to answer the question — or provide an answer in context to prevent people from visiting an additional webpage to find the answer." – 18F Content Guide

Similarly, the Gov.UK writing guide does a good job of explaining how to make complex information accessible to a broad audience. Just as a piece of consumer software must be understandable to many types of users to be successful, UK government publications must reach and be useful to a broad spectrum of readers, from English-language learners, to populations with low levels of literacy, and citizens with a range of accessibility challenges.

Resources for UX copywriting

In addition to complete style guides, here are some practical tips:


Screenshot from Hemingway App, showing dynamic highlighting as you type

My favorite suggestion (which makes both lists) is to be make your writing shorter. To trim excess words, try the Hemingway App. It was named after the writer whose work was famous for its short, clear sentences.


Berlin, Berlin

Although trust7 Consulting is based in Berlin, a majority of our clients have been from greater Germany and throughout the world. But this is changing in a big way.


Berlin has become Germany’s Silicon Valley, a boom-town for startups as well as established companies from Europe and the rest of the world. More than 40 percent of Berlin’s startup employees are foreign nationals, and trust7 is poised to take part and welcome them to our community.



As a native Berliner, I cannot pretend to be objective.  But I know this: Berlin is a very good place to live! You will find that foreign nationals living here are happy.  We have thousands of restaurants, theaters, museums, woods, lakes, shops, and flea markets.  Berlin is also a super place to raise children.  No matter where you are from and what you like, you will find friends here who share your interests.


Visit our Job Offers page and take the chance to become a ‚Berliner‘!


Berlin Tegeler See

Tegeler See - Lake Tegel


Some related links:


I can not repeat it often enough.. if you want to improve your chances to come to Germany or to make a career, learn German!


Berlin, Berlin


Obwohl trust7 Consulting eine Berliner Firma ist, kamen die meisten unserer Kunden hauptsächlich aus Deutschland und vielen anderen Ländern. Das ändert sich jetzt massiv!


Berlin ist zum deutschen Silicon Valley geworden, ein Boom-Town für Start Ups so wie für etablierte Firmen aus Europa und dem ‚Rest‘ der Welt. Mehr als 40% der Angestellten der Start Ups kommen aus anderen Nationen und trust7 ist bereit, sie Willkommen zu heißen und in unserer Community aufzunehmen.


Als ein original Berliner kann ich nicht vorgeben, objektiv zu sein. Aber ich weiß genau: Berlin ist ein sehr guter Ort zum Leben!  Hier findet Ihr viele Menschen der verschiedensten Nationen die hier glücklich sind. Wir haben tausende Retaurants, Theater, Museen, Wälder, Seen, Geschäfte und Flohmärkte..


Berlin ist auch ein toller Platz um Kinder groß zu ziehen (sagen meine Amerikanischen Freunde).  Eagl wo Du herkommst und was Dich interessiert, Du wirst Freunde finden die Deine Interessen teilen.


Besucht unsere Job Offers Seite und nutzt die Chance ein ‚Berliner‘ zu werden!


How to Name Your App

This article first appeared in the Simply Secure Knowledge Base.

Are you building a new product or service? Are you struggling with what to call it? Here are suggestions for finding a good name. Naming software is hard because the name needs to convey a lot of meaning about what the program does to an unfamiliar audience, and do it all using only a word or short phrase. You want something memorable and easy to say – which becomes more complex when designing with a global audience in mind.

When Android announced a competition to name the latest operating system, it was met with skepticism. The accompanying parody video pokes fun at naming as an unskilled and silly exercise. The name for something like the latest version of an operating system doesn't really matter from an end-user point of view. Only super-technical people will notice or care. Call it Nutella McNutella face, as Tech Crunch suggested, or version, and a general audience will be satisfied that it's the latest choice.

Why Names Matter

In contrast to an established operating system, an app's name is an important way to differentiate what the program does and to encourage end-users to try it. Names are particularly important for internet-freedom projects where people may have limited bandwidth, be searching for information in a language they don't speak well, or trying to make a quick choice between similarly-named apps in an app store. A strong name can help build trust and drive adoption among users who need the project most, and get more people communicating securely.

Even open-source software developers need to consider their "brand" – that is, the way they express their project’s benefits and values. Coming up with a memorable, compelling, and differentiated name for an app is a skill practiced by brand strategists. Most brand strategists work in the highly-commercial world of advertising – i.e., encouraging people to buy things. However, that same skill can help developers of all kinds reach a general audience and enable them to better protect their privacy. Here are a set of practices practices from commercial naming than can be adapted to an open-source context.

McDonald’s is one of the most-recognized name brands in the world. Image by Mike Mozart, CC-BY 2.0.

Clarify Your Purpose

A successful name conveys something about the app, either functional benefits or an attitude. Clarifying the values the app represents is an important first step. Naming conversations can be difficult because they can expose differences in opinion among contributors about the most important benefits of the app.

To get everyone on the same page, try filling in the following sentence, leaving the name blank for now. 

For [type of user], [name] is a [frame of reference] that [key benefit] because [reasons to believe].

E.g., "For teenagers, Snapchat is a photo messaging app that hides messages from your parents because the interface is too confusing for adults."

Here are some thought-starter questions adapted from Brand Strategy Insider to help you complete the above sentence.


  • What does the app do?
  • When the app does a better job than competitors, how is it different? (e.g. Faster? Cheaper? More fun? More reliable?)

Culture and Purpose:

  • What will the development team never compromise on?
  • What are the team's the core beliefs?
  • What larger goal or cause does this app serve?
  • What does this app want to change in people's lives?
  • What are the ideas that the customer and development team agree are important?


  • Is the product serious or playful?
  • If the app were a drink, what would it be? (E.g. home-brewed oolong tea versus a Starbuck's mocha?)
  • If this project were a person (or celebrity), who would it be?

Aspirational Self-Image:

  • What does using the app tell others about the customer?
  • How do customers want to be seen?

Generating Ideas

After you've answered the questions above, work with your team to identify a list of three to five adjectives that describe your app’s brand. It may take some time to get to agreement on the adjectives.

Once you have the adjectives, brainstorm a list of at least 20 name options that reflect those adjectives. Let the list sit for a few days, then review your choices with fresh eyes. Select your top choices and move on to the exercises below in Choosing a Name.

If you have time and can find willing participants, it's a good idea to go through this brainstorming process again, starting over from your adjective list, and including different people. A second, independent round of brainstorming before moving on to choosing a final candidate is a good way to get comprehensive coverage.

To help seed ideas for brainstorming, look at example naming resources, such as Wolf Olin's Naming Handbook for inspiration. Here are some categories of possible names, with U.S.-centric examples:

  • Acronyms (UPS, IBM)
  • Descriptive (Whole Foods, Airbus)
  • Alliteration and Rhyme (Reese's Pieces, Dunkin' Donuts)
  • Evocative (Amazon, Crest)
  • Neologisms (Wii, Kodak)
  • Foreign words (Volvo, Samsung)
  • Founders' names (Hewlett-Packard, Disney)
  • Geography (Cisco, Fuji Film)
  • Personification (Nike, other myths)

Take a critical look at the apps on your phone. What kind of names do they have?

My home screen has

  • Translations from analogue: 7 apps. (e.g. Clock, Notes)
  • Descriptive: 3 apps. (e.g. Headspace, Lyft)
  • Evocative: 3 apps. (e.g. Kindle, Signal)
  • Neologisms: 6 apps. (e.g. Instagram, Trello)

Choosing a Name

Once you have a list of candidate names, start vetting them.

Open the door and shout out the name. 
Saying the name out loud, such as "Hey, come look at this thing on XYZ" is a way to bring your project to life. If it's hard to say or you feel embarrassed saying it, then it's probably not the right name.

Try using the name in a sentence.
Is it hard to spell or type? How does it fare with speakers of other languages?

What's the verb that means to use the app? 
Right now in San Francisco, WhatsApp is starting to become a verb, but I hear "message me in WhatsApp" or "text me in WhatsApp" as well as "WhatsApp me." Consider if you want your name to work as a verb. For example, Google Drive confuses many people, in part because no one knows what verb to use. Even habitual users struggle to describe using it. "Link it to me on Google Drive?" or "Share it with me on Google Drive?" "Drive" works as an analogue for a disk drive, but the verb phrase probably isn't "Drive it to me." The poor name choice makes it difficult to talk about and form a mental model of how the sharing features of the program work.

Is the name already in use?
Is the domain name available? What search results come up on websites and app stores? Are there legal conflicts? (A rigorous review may require the help of an attorney.)

Is it good enough?
Keep in mind, naming is often anti-climatic. It's fine to settle on an option that elicits a neutral reaction rather than love-at-first-site enthusiasm. The best names are often straight-forward or obvious. "Dropbox" is one example of an app with a clear, straightforward name.

Does it make sense to potential users?
Get user feedback on your choices. This can be as simple as saying that you're working on an app called X, and if someone asks you what it does, turn the question around and ask them what they would expect at app called X to do. Making side-by-side comparisons of app store descriptions or websites introducing the app can help clarify how end-users perceive different names.

What's in a Name?

The name and the values your “brand” expresses are how people find your app in a sea of similar alternatives. It helps them distinguish between options that are trustworthy and those made with snake-oil. Sharing the name is how they encourage their friends to use it, too. If your goal is to get a privacy-preserving app into the hands of as many people as possible, having a strong, memorable, and evocative name is an essential step that your team must take.


3rd of October

We have a public holiday today and if you want to know why you do not have to work, you should read this..


India at 70

Most nations around the world have that one special day reserved to commemorate their struggle for freedom. It’s the time to think of all the sweat, tears and sacrifices that went into building that nation. In Germany, we have Tag der Deutschen Einheit or Day of German unity which is held on 3rd Oct every year to celebrate the unification of Federal Republic of Germany and the Democratic Republic of Germany to create one united Germany. Likewise, in India we have 15th August, the day we gained our much-deserved freedom from the British rule. This year, India celebrated its 70th Independence Day with great fervour and festivities. It has been nothing short of a roller coaster ride for the country and its people, and clearly, India has come a long way in these last 70 years. India’s inexorable progress towards medical sciences, IT, space studies and nuclear physics has contributed to its remarkable rise in the world. Indeed, India has won many laurels, but the road ahead is not an easy one. There remain plentiful challenges to embrace and myriad obstacles to overcome. 

India is the world’s largest democracy and home to the second-largest English speaking population apart from being a booming economy. But does that define our status any differently? Precisely not. With the ever-widening rich poor gap in the country or the escalating economic disparity, the great Indian dream is but a mere mirage.  India’s richest 1% hold 58% of the country’s wealth according to a recent study. Rampant unemployment is another major concern, over 30% of Indian youth faces unemployment as per the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, which is nearly three times that of China.  India accounts for the largest number of people living below the poverty line which make up to 30% as listed by the World Bank. Homelessness, hunger, unhygienic living conditions and epidemics, claim innumerable lives daily. India takes pride in globally projecting itself as an emerging New India, an idealistic image which is too farfetched. But has this so called new India resolved its old issues? Well, it’s time for some reality check. The other side of shining India faces chronic hunger without any respite.  Drought, failure or late arrival of monsoons, hailstorms, floods, the burden of debt on the shoulders of farmers, have contributed immensely to the unprecedented spurt in farmer suicides each year. Nothing is being done to combat the agrarian crises or to save the lives of poor farmers.

I often ask myself, have we really found freedom? Literally yes, logically no. One might say, off course, we are free, we are no longer in the clutches of Britain. Fair enough! But, merely shouting ‘freedom’ at the top of your voice or unfurling flags, is that freedom to you? Freedom is that which makes you feel safe and secure inside out, it is when you are free to be yourself and above all, it ensures uniformly securing to everyone an equal opportunity for life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. To me, even today India is shackled by social stigmas which have long haunted our society. Though, we have made progress on the economic front, but India’s centuries old struggle to bring about social and cultural reforms has failed miserably.

The country is plagued by wide spread corruption, female infanticide, the brewing rape culture, poverty, malnutrition, communal disharmony, child labour, sexual abuse against children, human trafficking, dowry related deaths, honour killings, illiteracy, unemployment, and the more recent menace of mob lynching. India’s deceitful ploy knows no bound when it comes to ‘cover up’ its human rights violations.

If we look at the broader picture, nothing much has changed in India frankly. It still stands where it was before or maybe has slipped a little further down. We have blood sucking parasites in the name of politicians who are not one iota interested in the welfare of the country, except for their own vested interests. Back then were the colonizers who looted the colony of its riches to make Britain wealthier at the cost of suffering Indians. Today, we have our own people sowing seeds of discord at the cost of the country. The stifling corrupt atmosphere has ruined the nation and badly messed up the life of a common man.

I still remember during my integration course in Germany, one day we were asked questions about our home countries. When my turn came, I was asked something that I had no answer for, except for deep remorse, shame and woe. It was about the crime that I, as a woman, detest the most. I became indignant, I felt hurt and I felt deeply ashamed of what has befallen India. The rising rape culture has spread like wild fire, it’s going berserk, it is unstoppable. This crime has lent a bad reputation to India worldwide. I was asked to narrate the incident in German that sent shock waves across the world. Every time, I think of that horror I clench my fist in disgust and anger. That fateful night of Dec 2012, where a helpless young girl was mercilessly gang raped on a moving bus in Delhi. Rape has, since then, become a recurrent feature in India. Every hour someone, somewhere in India is getting raped or sexually assaulted. If only women were treated more as humans and less as commodities in India. The wave has gripped not just the local women but has also victimized many female tourists. The result of which is a steep fall in tourism in India. But what do you expect in a country where parliamentarians are often caught watching porn during the parliament sessions, unashamedly violating the code of ethics.

In many of the Indian villages, the local village councils use ‘rape’ as a weapon to seek justice. If any male member of a girl’s family has committed an offense against someone, these councils order all the men in the aggrieved party to rape the women belonging to the offender’s family as a punishment for the offense. Women, young or old, who are victims of rape or sexual assaults are often held responsible for the crime. Women are scrutinized at every level, from what they wear to where they go, whom they meet, what they drink and what they eat. The most hilarious reaction generally comes from India’s politicians, many of whom blamed Jeans, Chinese food, non-vegetarian diet and cell phones for the alarming rise in rapes in India. It’s so insanely outrageous, they have the audacity to talk such nonsense instead of taking stringent action against the rapists. Most of the crimes in India are conducted with full or partial support of the police who are often involved in heinous crimes themselves. They dissuade victims from filing report against the convicts. Majority of the convicts have strong political backing and police bow down before them.

The present-day scenario in India is that of fear and insecurity not just among the womenfolk but also among the minorities and the lower castes. The very fabric of India, interwoven with the threads of multi-culturalism and pluralism, is tearing apart. Minorities are now being treated as illicit children of India and the exploitation of lower castes too has surpassed all limits. Churches are vandalized, minorities are threatened with dire consequences, if they dare raise their voice, which anyway remains largely unheard. The recent spate of mob lynching of mostly Muslims on false pretext has further ignited the fire of hatred and intolerance.  The safety of people belonging to different faiths is being compromised without any action. What goes behind this epidemic of lynching is even scarier. It’s more than psychological, the crime is fully orchestrated and has strong government support. The most harrowing of all the recent episodes of mob lynching was that of a 15-year old Muslim boy in full view of the public on a crowded moving train. He was stabbed multiple times and mocked at for being a Muslim. He was thrown out of the moving train and later succumbed to his injuries. He bled to death but none stepped forward to his rescue. The problem with us Indians is that, it takes a lot of shaking, and sometimes, a solid kick in the rear, to awaken our sleeping conscience. By the time, we rise, it is already too late. Another incident which jostled the country, where a mentally challenged woman was stripped and beaten to death by the local public on mere rumours. People make videos of these gruesome spectacles to upload on social media but they are not humans enough to come to the forefront and save these ill-fated preys. Moral degradation mingled with religious bigotry has culminated in the breakdown of many societies and India is on the brink. 

India has witnessed some of the ugliest communal riots in history. But when tensions simmered down, people would forget their grievances and make haste to reconcile. This paved the way for normalcy to be restored.

My grandmother often reminisced about the events during the time of partition of India. Worst communal riots had broken out. There was anarchy everywhere. Her stories which I found so riveting as a child, now give me goose bumps. I feel sorry for the ordeal people had to go through. She was a teenaged girl then. Late one night, when the whole family was fast asleep in the charpoys neatly lined up in the courtyard of her house. Something terrible happened, there was a sudden heavy knocking at the front gate of their ancestral home. Her father nervously hurried to check, there was something ominous in the air that night. He silently unlatched the gate, he saw his Hindu neighbour standing there who had come to inform him of the danger looming around. A big armed mob was heading towards the area destroying every Muslim household and raping the women. My grandmother and all the female relatives (back then it was all a joint family system) hurriedly smeared their faces with coal dust to look ugly and darkened themselves as they were all quite pale complexioned. This helped them to sneak out easily into the dark without getting caught by the mob. They ran for their lives, fled through jungles for days, sleepy, hungry, thirsty and exhausted till they found a safe refuge and then there was no looking back. Their home was torched and all their personal belongings looted. What they lost was no match to what they saved. Material wealth could still be earned back but the honour lost is lost forever. Had it not been for that Hindu neighbour who alarmed them of the lurking danger, they all would have been killed. They owed their life and honour to him. This is a story which dates to 1947. If there were bad people, the good people outnumbered them. Today, we witness someone getting murdered or raped in front of us and we remain indifferent. Catastrophe is not the rise in the number of bad people, it is the silence of few good men in the midst; it is the death of collective conscience.

Never have I felt this way, but this time, it’s a relentless feeling of infuriation and helplessness which just doesn’t cease for a moment. Is it the tsunami of intolerance that is slowly drowning India? Is it the forced nationalism that we are fed day in and day out? Is it the freedom that still enslaves us? Is the resurfacing of the anomalies in India to be blamed? Many questions but no definite answers. Forget black money, India can’t even bring back the defaulter Vijay Mallya who is on the run.

Let’s catch a glimpse of where India stands today, at 70 it claimed the lives of nearly 70 infants who died within hours due to lack of oxygen cylinders at the government hospital, this was followed by a rape of a teenaged girl returning from school’s Independence Day celebration, two separate incidents of massive train accidents which left many causalities etc.

Distorting Indian history is the new cool, the right-wing historians are demonizing the Mughals whose contribution to India is truly unrivalled, yet when it comes to Independence Day speech each year, the Prime Minister chooses to deliver it from the ramparts of the historical Red Fort and when it comes to displaying the architectural marvels of India, we proudly boast of Taj Mahal. But wait? Weren’t they too built by the Mughal emperors? What hypocrisy India!

Where you can’t eat food of your choice, where you can’t wear clothes of your choice, where you can’t speak the language of your choice, where you can’t step out after dark should you be a woman, where minorities are alienated, where justice comes to those who can afford it, where laws grind the poor and rich rule the law, where the media no longer communicates reality but rather an ideology which is being forced upon us, where poor have to carry the corpses of their deceased relatives on their shoulders because they are denied ambulance, where government shows apathy towards downtrodden, what kind of freedom is it? If it is the independence which gives you the licence to spill the blood of innocents and terrorize others, then think again. This is not the India which Mahatma Gandhi had envisioned.

I am fully aware that this blog would rub many of you the wrong way. Believe me, this one is targeted at nation building and not nation bashing. We as Indians are currently fighting a cancer from within. Measures need to be taken to stop it from spreading any further. All is not lost, there is still some hope. India gained its independence on 15th Aug 1947, almost two years after the second world war ended. While India was busy dividing its people, Germany was busy in rebuilding the nation and look where Germany has arrived today and where does India stand? Strength of a nation lies in uniting and working together towards a better tomorrow, something which we haven’t learned till date.

I learnt ‘what real freedom meant’ in Germany and it had a profound influence upon me. During the Football World Cups, I have seen how freely people of other nationalities proudly carry the flags of their countries and wear t shirts flaunting their respective teams without anyone bating an eyelid. That is freedom. I can’t even imagine anybody doing so during Cricket World Cup in India. There would be a massive riot.

You know a country is doomed when follies and fallacies abound, when its art and artists are targeted, when its history gets concocted, when freedom of expression gets you trolled, when you are silenced forever if you try to change the system, when the literati and artists start returning their government trophies as a sign of protest. That’s real crises. What America had as Ku Klux Klan in the past on colour and which was again conspicuous in the recent Charlottesville violence perpetrated by white supremacists, what Germany possessed as Nazism on race as part of its dark history and the sporadic outbursts of violence by neo Nazis (though they are strictly quelled by the Government), India has followed the footsteps very closely by creating a group of cruel vigilantes who attack people, whenever and wherever they want. Such fringe elements roam freely on the streets of India.

While Germany came to the rescue of millions of refugees by giving them entry on humanitarian grounds, India is all set to deport Rohingya refugees back to Burma where they were ruthlessly persecuted. But then we hardly empathize with the plight of our own people, forget others.   

The arguments I have put forth are all blatantly honest and need to be spoken out and dealt with firmly. I have voiced my concerns, it is not the bitterness towards India, not at all. It is the land of my forefathers, land where I was born and raised up and I hold it very dear to me. However, this doesn’t mean that I would live in a fool’s paradise and go all gaga over it despite the many evils surrounding us. As Indians, it is our job to address matters which need attention. By breaking the silence and by speaking out in favour of all those who have been subjected to years of injustice and those who are being deliberately wronged in our country, we are actually doing service to our nation. We are trying to save it from ruining itself, all oppressive regimes have met the same fate. We have ample examples before us. It’s time not to look away but to admit our faults and work towards strengthening India by strengthening our countrymen, no matter who they are. When we start treating the cause of others who are being wronged as our own cause, when we move past that ‘I, me and myself’ barrier and when we ally ourselves with those who are suffering in our country irrespective of their caste, colour or creed, that’s when real patriotism is shown. Nationalism is evil in its essence, it makes your vision constricted and makes you wrongly believe that your country is perfect, free from all defects.  It evokes in you a false sense of pride where you can’t see the reality around you. Patriotism, on the other hand, is love and sincerity towards your country. It brings about willingness in you to accept the pitfalls and to correct them to be a better nation.

I sincerely hope that one day, we work to lift India from the pits of despair to newer heights. I hope of a country which welcomes everyone, where each one of us can freely pursue his/her dreams, where people of all faiths live as one big Indian family where we rise or fall together as one nation and as one people.

Blue Card Spouses - Advantages

I receive many mails asking me about the status and possibilities of Blue Card holders spouses. Here I give you some information about this topic.


Do not ask me why.. but a spouse of a Blue Card holder has a much better status as the workpermit holder himself.


The Federal Office for Migration says..


Do spouses who subsequently immigrate to Germany enjoy free access to the German employment market?

Yes, spouses immediately enjoy unrestricted access to dependent and independent employment (Section 27, subsection 5 of the German Residence Act).


This means a spouse can take any kind of job from MacDonalds to the Director of a Company or start any kind of selfdependent business without any problem or additional permission!



There are some points which you should have in mind before you start.


As a family member the spouse is insured by the insurance of the Blue Card holder, without additional costs. As soon as she or he earns mor than 450,- € per month they have to tell the insurance and pay more. The same with the tax class. If just one member of the family works he gets tax class III which means less salary taxes ( a single worker gets tax class I ) as soon as both spouses work they will get different tax classes. Please ask your tax adviser before you do anything, because you have to calculate if the additional income will be ‚eaten‘ by the higher taxes.


In case a spouse will start a business, that’s easy. As long as the business do not need an approval like for Doctors, Lawyers, Taxconsultants, you can just go to the local trade office and register your business. The fee is about 15,- € and in most of the German cities you can do it online. ‚Google‘ for ‚Gewerbeanmeldung‘.


Of course you have to tell the Finance Office about your activities and as long as it is just a kind of try you can tell them that you do it as ‚Nebenerwerb‘ and that you don ot expect high income at the beginning.


I strongly recommend to ask a taxconsultant before you do anything! It might cost some Euro, but if you do something wrong it can be much more expensive!


You can start your business from your home (ask your landlord). You do not need a separate Bank account.


trust7 offers you the possibilty to tell the community about your business. Write an article about it, your experiences, the ups and downs.


This can help others and maybe you can get some new clients ;-


Good luck




How to Found Your Own Company in Germany

Are you thinking about becoming a freelancer or founding your own company in Germany? Are confused and looking for guidance? 
Then get prepared! A goal without a plan is just a wish, and a plan without facts is not only bad, it is dangerous.
trust7 offers a very good opportunty to prepare yourself and learn about the basics of starting a business in Germany.
Join our seminar about Start Ups / Founding a Company!

Because it is on a Saturday and located in Berlin, you can easily combine it with a weekend trip to our Capital, for yourself and/or for the whole family. 

To book send an email to

Seminar host: Detlef von Hellfeld
Detlef von Hellfeld is an entrepreneur who has run his own business for decades. At present, besides his own company, he is a senior consultant for 3 IT companies, 1 from Germany, 1 from India, and 1 from the UK. 

Start Up/Company Foundation Seminar


Presenter:            trust7 Consulting

Seminar Host:     Detlef von Hellfeld

Place:                  Berlin

Date:                   22. April 2017

Time:                  12:00 bis 17:00 pm

Language:           Englisch

Fee:                     150,00 €    




Introduction of the Participants


Why should I start a business of my own - pros and cons


Legal Requirements - Foreigners / Citizens


Different Types of Business - Single Company - GbR - GmbH - Freelancer


Mandatory Memberships / Costs - IHK - Employer's Liability Insurance Association


Fiscal Aspects / Find Tax Advisor


Rental Agreements for Commercial Premises


Hiring Employees - Salary - Social Payments - Health- and Pension Insurance


Legal riscs of Self-Employment / Pseudo Self-Employment


Banks - Capital - Credit - Venture Capital




Start Up / Business Plan Contests


Questions and Answers





Why I Moved Back to India after 10+ Years in USA

This article has been written by Nupur Dave and I got her friendly permission to publish it on trust7! Thanks!

I am, what they call, a US Return. After more than a decade living in the United States, I moved back to India for good. 

When I announced I was moving back to India permanently, some of the responses I was given were

* "Are you SURE?"

* "Let’s see how long you last”. 

* "I am happy to see you walk the talk"


* and the insipid "Ok cool"

 But why did i move back? Wasn't it a normal, successful and happy life in the United States?

 Yes, but on paper.

 I had a job: I worked for Google, consistently rated #1 company to work for. I had status: active in the Indian Googler network, organizing events for thousands of Indian Googlers. I had a life: living in the city of San Francisco, paying drops of blood for a rent, to live a more happening life away from the suburbs. I had comfort: I took a leather seated wifi enabled luxury bus to work. I had social circles: platefuls of friends, acquaintances and girl friends I could run to for dinner, party or a good chat. I had health: I visited the celebrity barry's bootcamp, I was fit and had access to the best of San Francisco food experiences.

But I was unhappy.

How much can you hang out with friends? You still sleep alone. My life in Sunnyvale, the suburbs of America, revolved around lunch and dinners with friends in Indian restaurants, Chaat Paradise, Chaat Cafe, Chaat House. I got sick of it. I was too dependent on my friends for a happiness that was evasive. I wasn’t exactly happy when I was with people, but always sad and empty when I was alone. Soon, with age, friends started falling off the grid after they got married. Does marriage bring happiness in America? I don’t know. I’d ask, but no one will tell the truth.

“Hate something? Change something” became my philosophy. So I moved out of the suburbs. Moving to the dense city of San Francisco changed that feeling of sickness. There was a lot I could do on my own. Life was better. I could run on the beautiful Embarcadero road next to the bay waters, watch the eyeful twinkling lights of the bay bridge, and eat real mexican food. I no longer spent my life in a car, and could walk to the shopping center, or take a bustling train to any part of the city.

But the life soon got exhausting. My high rent meant that I had to save money on other things. Saving money led to tiring decisions like walking to places instead of taking taxi, cooking my own food instead of ordering in ($16 for a masala dosa!), slogging over house cleaning on my own after 4 hrs of food photography and the mess that it necessarily created to achieve the creative outcome. If money could solve that problem, it couldn’t have solved my 3 hour commute. I would return home at 8:30 pm from a tiring bus ride from office, only to spend 45 minutes to wash the stained vessels dumped in the sink.

The pleasant work of Writing, Photography, the will-power consuming work of Exercise, and the unwanted children of Cleaning, Cooking, Organizing, Folding, seemed to fill up every open space of time I had, and then exhausted, I filled up the rest of my time with the brainless task of resting with Netflix.

I couldn’t keep up.

I hired a helper from, a company through which you could hire house help. At $25 per hour, I got a girl who could help me fold my laundry, clean the kitchen and basically do everything I couldn’t do alone-- miraculously, I was up and about and enthusiastic to work when she’d visit.

The relief was short lived. I could not afford to hire help and I woke up every morning with an emptiness in my heart. I woke up wondering what my purpose in the US was. I woke up missing India. Over 3 years in the city of San Fransico, I slowly and surely, got obsessed. I wanted to help India, like how you’d want to help a malnutritioned child in Africa-- but its all in the head. Thought, in this case, doesn't count. I worked hard for the Indian Google Network, my only easy outlet. I thought of a program to make it easier for NRI’s to volunteer in India. I created a proposal called ‘Dharti’, tried for a tie up with an IIT, tried to get an impact fund sponsorship. Nothing went though 

It was not meant to be.

4th Dec 2015. I was adjusting my sari. I was at my cousin's wedding in Indore and my 8 yr old nephew looked at me and suddenly asked.

“Aye why you stay in America?”

“I … because... I...” the answer didn't snap out, surprisingly. I tried again. ”.....Because my job is good”.

“Because my job is good?”. An echo in my head added a question mark to my answer. It was my subconscious asking myself --“Really? Job is the reason to stay in America?”. The answer didn’t feel real or reason enough to give an innocent 8 year old.

That moment, a seed was planted. By my nephew. What is the real reason I live in the US and not India? I questioned myself 

3 months later, It was getting progressively and exponentially difficult to manage my apartment. I knew I wanted to pursue food photography and writing but it just wasn't scaling.

“You must come back to India” my brother in law told me on the phone.

“I’m afraid” I said tightening the hold around my phone.

“Why are you afraid?” he asked

“What if I don’t like it? Silicon valley has the smartest people!”

“You think there are no good people in India?” , he asked firmly.

I went silent.

I set the phone down. I was still afraid. How can I leave this land of opportunity? Can I leave this life? I have a car with a sunroof, I can drive alone at night, I have access to the best people, the place is neat and clean, I am earning in dollars, I can afford an international vacation, the best men are here in silicon valley aren't they-- All these founders, engineers, VC’s!

I parked the idea aside, unconvinced. And moved along another month.

Life has its own way of convincing. After long stares into the beautiful bus view to office, a question soon bubbled up,

“What is the one thing you will regret when you’re 50, and settled in Fremont California with a minivan and a child with an American accent”

The answer was always the same “I will regret that I didn’t go back to India”

On the night of a weekend in May, I was restless. The weekend chores were looming on me and I knew I could not keep up. But that night I didn’t want to keep up. I walked to the mirror and looked at the image, the image of a hypocrite. Someone who praises India, misses India, but yet stays abroad. I didn’t want to be that hypocrite, rolling in regret every day of my life.

So I made that decision. On my last bus trip from office, I played a song. Aye Mere Pyare Watan from Kabuliwala. You must watch it.

[Cross posted on]


The Perks of German Citizenship

Times change and so do people’s preferences. Every dawn of morning marks a new beginning, bringing with it newer choices and a renewed vigour. What once seemed to be the inevitable destination(s) to settle down may not however be so today. People have become more daring and are ready to take a leap of faith. They are willing to go out beyond the horizon, to explore and settle down in places which were unheard of in the past. The good old US and UK charm is slowly beginning to recede away. It was a bygone era when people’s thinking of going abroad was limited solely to either the UK or the US; the tried and tested spots. The new generation is more daring and enterprising, and makes smarter choices. It so happened, while reading the newspaper one fine morning I stumbled upon an article, which, I must say, got me hooked. It was about the benefits of holding a German passport. After reading it, I told myself firm and loud, if I am in Germany, I better be one of the Germans. So now for me, no more drooling over any other foreign passport. And here’s why I made up my mind about getting a German passport.

The German citizenship offers you the same inalienable rights as your natural German counterpart irrespective of how you acquired the citizenship, some of the many rights you enjoy are-

  • the right to vote
  • basic constitutional rights, like, freedom of assembly and association
  • consular protection
  • free movement across the EU
  • exemption from certain visa requirements
  • easy access to health, pension and unemployment benefits
  • financial support for higher studies in public institutes.
  • entitled to a work permit.
  • eligible to become a civil servant
  • shorter waiting period of three years for non-German spouse to apply for citizenship.

This list is even more enticing than a love letter and I can keep on looking at it for hours. But the vital question is, how to get German citizenship? Well, there are no short cuts to getting a citizenship of any country worth living, and Germany is no exception. Patience, determination and will power, will eventually lead you to your destination. Citizenship will happen, but within a stipulated time and a set of criteria need to fulfilled. During the intervening period, there will come trials, but you must hold on firmly.

On a lighter note, you don’t essentially have to shrug your shoulders while conversing, and simultaneously let out a blow of air from your mouth in a ‘phhuuu’ to become German. That was a joke by the way. Let’s hit the key points we need to consider for German citizenship. If you have been permanently residing in Germany for eight years, you are qualified to be a German citizen once you meet the required terms and conditions. Being a German citizen not only means that you are fully integrated or accepted in the German society but you are also granted the same rights and legal status, as other German nationals. Before you gain German citizenship, you must give up your former nationality with a few exceptions. Refugees, ethnic German re settlers or exiled persons of German origin along with their families who have been given shelter in Germany unquestionably become German.

The answer to the question of ‘how to become a German citizen’ has been broadly divided into the following categories-

German citizenship through naturalization

A foreigner or a stateless person can acquire German citizenship through naturalization. The process begins upon presentation of a naturalization certificate and involves an administrative order. To be naturalized, the applicants are required to take an hour-long naturalization test which is called Leben im Deutschland. The test covers the legal and social aspects of life in Germany. It has 33 multiple choice questions and you must score at least 17 out of 33 to get the certificate. A person is entitled to be naturalized in accordance with §10 of the German citizenship Act (StAG) after meeting all the needed requirements. If you are the spouse or registered same sex partner of a German citizen, your naturalization is governed by § 9 of the German citizenship Act. Sometimes, you might not fulfil all the needed criteria and yet be granted naturalization based upon discretion according to § 8 of StAG if it could be proven that your naturalization would be in the public interest. Besides, you are expected to meet certain basic requirements which are essentially uniform for all kinds of naturalization-

  • have permanent residency at the time of naturalisation.
  • been permanently and lawfully living in Germany for eight years (exceptions- seven years if you attended an integration course and six years in case of special integration like volunteer work etc.)
  • self-sustaining and able to support your dependents without seeking any social welfare or unemployment benefits.
  • sufficient spoken and written German language skills or holding DTZ Zertifikat (Deutsch test für Zuwanderer or German test for immigrant’s certificate equivalent to B1 level)
  • have no past criminal record.
  • allegiance to the constitutional principles of freedom and democracy with no evidence of anti-constitutional or extremist acts in the past or present.

However, not all are required to take the naturalization test. The exempted ones are:

  • those below the age of 16
  • those who have graduated from a German school or have higher German education in law, social, political or administrative fields
  • those with serious health issues or disability or old age

Naturalization, however, is only performed on request.

German citizenship by marriage

All those who think marrying a German national is your lottery ticket to gaining German citizenship, think again! Section 9 of the Nationality Act permits spouses or registered same sex partners of German citizens to apply for German citizenship only after completion of three years of permanent residence in Germany. But they must have been married for at least two years at the time of application. However, if you get married after arriving in Germany, the process for citizenship will take longer. In addition, the general requirements for naturalization too apply here.

German citizenship by birth

A child becomes German through birth if at least one parent holds German citizenship. A child born on or after 1 January 2000 to non-German parents automatically gets German citizenship if at least one parent has a permanent residence permit, and has been residing in Germany for at least eight years or a Swiss citizen.  However, a child born to German parent (s) abroad doesn’t acquire German citizenship if the German parent (s) themselves were born abroad on or after January1, 2000, and continue living outside Germany unless it means, the child would be stateless or if the birth is registered with a German embassy or consulate within one year. If the biological father of the child is German and the child is born out of wedlock, acknowledgment or legal establishment of paternity is required before the child turns 23 to claim German citizenship. The citizenship of the other parent doesn’t matter as concerns the German citizenship. This suggests that any child born to one non-German parent or to a parent holding dual nationality usually acquires the foreign citizenship of the other parent by birth thus carrying multiple nationality. But only temporarily unless you meet the requirements of dual citizenship. If you do not meet the criteria, then children who hold one or more nationalities through their parents must decide between the ages 18-23 whether they desire German citizenship.

Dual Citizenship

It is expected once you get German citizenship you cede your original nationality. However, German law allows certain people to hold two citizenships upon fulfilment of following terms and conditions-

  • children who have one German and one foreign parent, or a parent holding two citizenships naturally acquire parents’ citizenships by the principle of descent.
  • children with Optionspflicht can temporarily hold multiple nationalities, but they must choose whether to retain German citizenship between the ages of 18 and 23.
  • children born to immigrants are permitted to hold two passports according to the new law, if they meet the criteria listed below-

*must have been raised in Germany, more precisely by the time they turn 21 they must have lived for eight years in Germany, even if they weren’t born here.

*attended a German school for at least six years or must have completed some vocational training.

*a school diploma or a training certificate is needed as a proof.

The law concerns only those born after 1990 and those who fail to meet any of the above requirements must opt for a single citizenship.

  • as per Section 7 of the German Citizenship Act ethnic German re settlers and their families (that come along) do not have to renounce their previous citizenship on getting German citizenship.
  • Germans who take up the citizenship of any other EU country or Switzerland do not lose their German citizenship according to Section 25 of StAG.
  • those from EU member states, Switzerland or former Soviet Union, do not have to surrender their former nationality.
  • people from countries like Algeria, Iran, several Latin American countries among others which do not annul the citizenship of their emigrants.  

Holding dual citizenship doesn’t give you an edge over other citizens nor does it undermine your rights and duties. You are totally on a par with other citizens and won’t be treated any differently. However, if you prefer to live in your home country (or any other country apart from Germany where you hold corresponding citizenship), in such a case, you will lose your right over consular protection. The other country will treat you as its citizen and their services will apply on you.

Applying for German citizenship-

1) Parents of under 16 children can apply on their behalf. Those aged 16 and above should apply themselves.

2)Depending upon your based location you will get an application from your local immigration office, youth migration service or the town council or local authority. Your local citizenship authority will provide you the needed information.

3) In case you are outside Germany when applying for German citizenship, in that case you should consult German Embassy/Consulate.

Who is prone to losing German citizenship?

German citizenship can only and only be declared null and void under certain unavoidable conditions approved by the Constitution. According to the German citizenship Act, German citizenship is revoked in the following cases-

  • If you acquire a foreign nationality while holding German citizenship (except the nationality of one of the EU States or Switzerland) you automatically lose your German citizenship.
  • If the other state has agreed to granting citizenship, then German citizenship is revoked upon request.
  • In case of adoption by a foreigner resulting in their citizenship being acquired.
  • Cancelation of naturalization obtained through fraudulent means like bribery, incorrect information or deception.
  • If the person who has been offered Optionspflicht declares that they do not wish to retain their German citizenship or fail to submit a declaration.
  • If a conscript voluntarily joins the armed forces of another country whose citizenship they hold as well without the approval of the district board.

Losing German citizenship means losing all the rights and duties which were previously conferred upon you like the other German citizens. You will legally be treated as a foreigner.

As reported by The Telegraph, German citizens possess the world’s most powerful passport according to an annual survey. Both the UK and the US passports, have slipped down in global rankings. The ranking by Henley and Partners, a citizenship and planning firm takes into consideration the number of visa free countries which can be travelled anytime of the year. With German Passport one can easily travel to 177 countries out of a possible 218.  Isn’t that stupendous!! Britons can visit 175 and the US folks 174.

Settling down in Germany is not easy, nevertheless, once you start living here it just grows on you. From the moment, you decide- “I am settling down in Germany, period”, you realize you have a gold trophy ahead of you but to lift it up you must get past the language barrier. Ahhh!!! The not so friendly German language. But I kid you not, once you learn the language, Germany becomes the best abode. Once the awkwardness, that comes along with the lack of communication, is gone, trust me, Germany becomes far too riveting. My stance on the topic of citizenship is as steady as can be. After all, it is the law of nature- all that fascinates doesn’t come easy but through struggle. So, that years later when you look back at your life, you are proud of your choices. At the end of the day, what we all want is; stability, security and satisfaction in our lives, and Germany is worth striving for.




German Citizenship



Establishment of German Citizenship and Naturalization

Ever since the British voted to leave the EU in June 2016 our law firm has noticed an increased number of requests from British citizens seeking to apply for German citizenship. British citizens living and working in other parts of the EU are reluctant to give up their rights stipulated in the treaties, most importantly the right to freedom of movement and other benefits associated with EU-membership.

The Brexit vote demonstrates that German/ EU citizenship provides a great advantage. Particularly, the fact that there exists no such thing as a EU-wide residence and work permit makes German citizenship more appealing to EU-nationals and third country nationals alike.

There are different ways to obtain German citizenship:

Establishment of German citizenship

In general, German citizenship is determined based on the right of blood (“ius sanguinis”).

In order to determine whether an applicant is a German citizen proof is necessary that the parents were holding German citizenship when the applicant was born. Often, however, the applicant´s ancestors have lived abroad for generations. The starting point of the establishment of citizenship is the ancestor who was born in Germany and resettled to start a new life abroad. It needs to be determined, whether or not German citizenship was passed on to the descendants. And applicants need to bear in mind that citizenship might have been lost due to a variety of reasons, including marriage or naturalization.

Eligible persons can file an application for the establishment of German citizenship.


German citizenship can also be acquired by naturalization.

Firstly, a person can become a naturalized citizen after having legally resided in Germany for a certain amount of time (generally between 6 and 8 years).

Secondly, there is the opportunity of restoration of German citizenship in the course of compensation according to Art. 116 (2) Basic Law.

This provision allows for the application for restoration of citizenship for persons who have been illegitimately stripped of their German citizenship on political, racial or religious grounds between 30th January 1933 and 8th May 1945. The same applies to their descendants. Art. 116 (2) Basic Law is predominantly aimed at persons of Jewish origin, who lost German citizenship during the Nazi Regime.

During that period a large number of Jewish people fled from Germany to seek protection. The descendants of those persons, no matter what country they are now residing, may now be eligible for restoration of German citizenship.

Thirdly, former German citizens or persons with ties with Germany residing abroad may apply for naturalization.  

When it comes to the acquirement of German citizenship it is of utmost importance to keep legislative changes in mind. German law generally does not have retroactive effect. This means that the law effective at the time of the relevant incident (e.g. time of birth) is applicable.

For example, the current version of Section 4 (1) StAG (German citizenship law) stipulates that a child obtains German citizenship if a parent holds German citizenship. However, from 1933 to 1964 section 4 (1) stated that a child born in wedlock to a German father obtains the father’s German citizenship whereas a child born out of wedlock to a German father obtains the citizenship of the mother. As a result, a child born in wedlock to a foreign father and a German mother was unable to obtain German citizenship.

Today this is an unconstitutional provision which still has consequences. To right this wrong, the Federal Ministry of the Interior has therefore decided that it is in the State´s interest to give descendants of such constellations the opportunity to apply for naturalization. However, amongst other requirements applicants will have to prove particularly close ties with Germany.

Many of our clients worry that by obtaining German citizenship they will have to give up their former citizenship and with it a great deal of their identity. As a matter of fact, Germany generally does not allow dual citizenship. However, there are many exceptions to this rule and our lawyers are happy to advise on the possibilities of dual citizenship.

In the case of a possible Brexit: Britain allows dual citizenship and Germany abstains from its general rule that people who become naturalized have to give up their former citizenship.

People who live abroad may submit their applications for naturalization to German diplomatic and consular missions, who will then submit the applications to the BVA (Federal Administration Office). Applicants who reside within Germany should directly contact the competent immigration office at their place of residence.


A great number of British citizens is eager to obtain more information about their options. Between June and August 2016, the German Embassy in London has received hundreds of requests for information about naturalization and formal applications. These numbers will certainly rise.

Naturally, we are happy to provide legal assistance on all issues related to obtaining German citizenship.

Best regards

Katja Ponert (VPMK Lawyer)


Stagnation is Regression - Speed Up Your Career

Do you think it is time for an update of your career? Do you want new professional challenges? Earn more money, meet new people, enlarge your skills?


Well, then you should not wait to long. Speak to your boss or project leader or if you do not see chances in your current company, start searching the job market.




trust7 offers a special service for you! We provide your resumes to our handpicked clients and evaluate the conditions for their opportunities.


Your resume will be anonym! We will tell you the name of the possible employer and then you can decide if we go on or not!


Your data will be protected and no one will know about your activities.


Trust is the basis of our business, our philosophy and what we believe in!


This service is absolutely free and non-binding. The only prerequisite is, that you are already working in Germany.


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Banana Republic Sweden

Today I read an interesting article about Swedish Immigration Authorities, which I want to share with you.

The author, Mr. Mathias Plank, CEO and founder of Dynamo Digital Ventures, gave his permission to publish it here.

Thanks, Detlef

 Welcome to the Banana Republic of Sweden

This week we received a letter from the Swedish Migration Board. They have decided to deport Tayyab, one of our superstar developers, along with his wife. Tayyab now has four weeks to leave the country. He’s even at risk of not being able to enter the Schengen area - ever again. WTF!

Tayyab has spent more than three years in Sweden. He has taken his Masters Degree in Computer Science and worked his way up as a software developer. Today, despite his young age, he's one of our most valued talents. He lives in central Stockholm together with his wife, pays his taxes and contributes to the friendly, inclusive international culture we all enjoy at the office.

So, what has Tayyab done to deserve this harsh, abrupt decision? Did he commit a crime? Lie about his background? Involve himself in murky activities? No, in fact he didn’t do anything at all: His former employer may have made a small, formal error. In short, Tayyab’s pension benefits may have been two percentage points below the industry average (but not below those of his colleagues and bosses at the time). This has since been corrected in arrears by his former employer.

So, a microscopic detail for you and me. For the Swedish Migration Agency, apparently grounds for deporting Tayyab.

DYNAMO employs only the best mobile software developers. Since there isn’t enough homegrown talent, we need to look for people all over the world. Among the 56 developers at our HQ in central Stockholm you’ll find people from 25 different countries. We need Tayyab, and we also need more skilled top talents like Tayyab in our country.

In short, Tayyab is an asset. He’s an asset to us, and he’s an asset to this country. So how can the Swedish Migration Board treat him like he’s a liability, a burden that needs to be kicked out immediately?

Over the past 20 years I have started six companies and employed more than 250 people. I've paid company taxes, salary taxes and value added taxes - always with a smile on my face. Yesterday that changed.

I understand that there are and must be laws and regulations. But this insane reaction to a minor formal error that wasn’t even committed by Tayyab himself must be a ridiculously harsh interpretation of those laws. If not, then our problems as a country are bigger than I’d imagined.

You are not only taking away our very best talents from us - you are also taking away the drive and the capability to run companies, pay taxes, employ people and increase the tax base. Not to mention what you’re doing to a young man and his wife just trying to make a living.

Mathias Plank

Founder & CEO 

DYNAMO Digital Ventures

Divorce by Mutual Consent

The vast majority of divorces in Germany are now done amicably.

The German family law provides for these simplified ways of divorce, which allows for a quick and inexpensive dissolving of the marriage when both spouses wish to be divorced. Moreover, in most of the cases it´s possible to find a peaceful solution with the consent of the spouse even in difficult initial situations.

In Germany for a divorce by mutual consent it´s necessary that after one year of separation a lawyer sends a divorce application to the family court. There is no need to give the reasons for the divorce. The spouse must then approve the court date of the divorce and this needs no lawyer.

More amicable settlements to ancillary matters such as maintenance, custody or handling and property disputes may nevertheless be resolved of court independently. However, these arrangements are not necessary for the implementation of consensual divorce. Only the balance of the property acquired by both spouses, entitlements to pension and other pension costs is carried out by the court. These matters can also be notarized beforehand and excluded. If both spouses are not German citizens, a supply balance is in most cases not required by law.

Since 1998 I have assisted international individuals and business customers. The international client is our top priority. I am active both in the field of general contract law and in the area of family law since 1998. Based on this experience, the contractual aspects of all separation and divorce consequences, clarification of difficult situations and fast amicable divorces are my strengths.

My other main focus is in the area of immigration law. I know the particularities of marriage and divorce of bi-national marriages and possible effects on the immigration status of the alien.

In light of these specializations I have experienced a lot in court. After all, I have to say, that I am happy about the developments of divorces by mutual consent. A lot of money can be saved and a lot of energy can flow into the future instead of the past. Separate couples are not enemies anymore, but friends and children can easily move between mother and father, without feeling guilty in that situation or sad. They can feel safe in new family constellations, instead of being confronted again and again with the old problems of their parents, that have in most of the cases nothing to do with the children, but hinder their developments into happy and self-responsible adults.

So the last meeting at court in a case of divorce by mutual consent a few weeks ago surprised all participants. The couple was already separated for more than three years and my divorce application to the court for the Japanese wife was very short, as there was not so much to say. As usual I took my place together with the wife on the left side of the judge, the side for the applicant. Before anyone could say anything, quickly and as a matter of course, the spouse took the seat next to the wife and the place on the right side of the judge, the place for the respondent, remained empty.

The judge looked at the both of them and then slightly bemused asked: "Are you sure, you want to get divorced?" And finally added: "Well, you both say conscientiously you are separated for three years and so I will not check this" and then smiled.

Rebecca Müller

Partner at vpmk attorneys, Berlin

Berlin is In



Although I always try to write my Blogs in English, this time I will do it in my native language.


Sorry ;-


Berlin entwickelt sich seit geraumer Zeit zur beliebtesten Metropole in Europa. Nicht nur bei Touristen, Studenten, Künstlern und jungen Leuten aus der ganzen Welt und der deutschen Provinz (ist nicht bös gemeint) sondern mehr und mehr auch von Firmen jeder Größe und aus den verschiedensten Bereichen. Zusätzlich wird ein Zustrom von UK Businesses erwartet, die so den Folgen des ‚Brexits‘ entgehen wollen.


trust7 Consulting betreut und vertritt schon seit vielen Jahren vor allem indische und US Firmen, und in letzter Zeit erreichen uns Anfragen von Interessenten aus dem mittleren Osten, speziell aus dem Iran.


Auch deutsche Unternehmen verlagern immer mehr Abteilungen und Entwicklungszentren nach Berlin, sodass wir schon jetzt viele neue und sehr interessante Jobs in Berlin anbieten können und es werden mehr :-)


Im Juli hatte unsere Senatorin für Wirtschaft Cornelia Yzer in Kooperation mit der Firma Berlin Partner GmbH zu einem Business Lunch für einige ausgewählte Geschäftsführer geladen. 


Business Lunch Welcome by Senator Cornelia Yzer


Senatorin Cornelia Yzer begrüßt die Gäste


Senatorin Yzer begrüßt trust7 Consulting - Detlef von Hellfeld


Wirtschafts Senatorin Yzer begrüßt trust7 Consulting - Detlef von Hellfeld


Die Fotos wurden uns freundlicher Weise von © Berlin Partner - Pedro Becerra zur Verfügung gestellt!


Alle Teilnehmer waren sich einig, dass Berlin als Business Standort permanent an Bedeutung gewinnt und ich kann nur empfehlen, sich mit uns in Verbindung zu setzen, um die Möglichkeiten für das eigene Business zu diskutieren.


Für Software Ingenieure die gern in einer jungen und dynamischen Metropole leben und arbeiten wollen, bietet trust7 Consulting viele Möglichkeiten. Wir freuen uns auf Ihre qualifizierten Initiativ Bewerbungen!


Beste Grüße aus Berlin




Religion, a solace or a threat

If becoming “religious” has turned you into a more judgemental, arrogant, rude and harsh being, you need to introspect if you are worshipping God or your ego.

We all must have come across this axiom circulating on social media sometime or the other, but have we ever pondered over it? Let’s begin from the beginning. When we talk of religion what is the first thought that comes with it? Well, my stance on the issue of religion is, “despite all its holiness, there is nothing holy left in it anymore.” The intension is not to get you caught in some sort of philosophical trap, if you look closely at my statement about religion, you sure will get a head start on religion. I have always been sceptical about writing on the subject of religion due to my own unknown fears until Mr. von Hellfeld convinced me into writing on this burning topic which has suddenly gained momentum like never before.  In the current times, unfortunately, religion has become a perpetual threat to the free society, more due to its misuse than use. God alone knows, what alchemy is being employed these days to turn such pious aspects of religion into diabolical elements of controversy, political agenda, barbarism, massacres, material gain, greed, and so forth.


I am no atheist, I am no agnostic, I believe in religion and my religion believes in peace. Religion is not something I have plainly inherited nor is it something I show off by wearing charms, amulets or talisman. I do not adorn the walls of my house by gaudy religious symbols. Religion is something very deep and very personal, something to be felt not flaunted. I choose to follow my religion with eyes wide open rather than closed, that’s because I have read, questioned and understood it. I firmly believe that if you truly respect your religion, open and read its holy scripture, and try the best you can to implement its teachings in your day today life. See for yourself what is written in it. Sacred books are not just meant to be cleaned off dust, kissed and kept on the highest shelf of your closet, that’s the worst disrespect one could show to them. I am no saint and I am no authority to preach. But the present wave of global anarchy caused in the name of religion has compelled me to discuss the pit falls of practicing religion blindly. It is the ignorance of true religion that lets vested interests abuse religion; as is manifest in the present scenario.


It does not matter what your religion is, so long as your conscience guides your actions and words. A friend of mine in a humoured tone once said, ‘I was born a human until religion divided me.’ For once I won’t hesitate in confessing that it could be a plausible conjecture, even if it is not wholly true. For me, God, despite religious diversity in the world, is the ultimate truth, and through our inner voice termed as ‘conscience’ do we connect with our creator. If one rightly follows his/her conscience one could never go astray. After all, the language of God can only be decoded by our conscience. The tyranny, the oppression, the homicide which we are witnessing in the world today, all these collective inhumane acts are a result of the death and decay of our conscience which differentiates between right and wrong.


We may agree or disagree with one another but that does not mean we become intolerant or spiteful towards each other. I grew up in an Indian Muslim family, completed my schooling from a convent school run by catholic nuns, my circle of friends includes people of Hindu, Christian and Sikh faiths. Religion is the last thing that comes to my mind when I interact with people. I don’t judge people on the basis of their sexual orientation or their background, if you are my friend, you are my friend and that’s what counts in the end. Gay or straight, religion or no religion, atheist or agnostic, alles ist egal!! These blatant rampages against innocent people in the name of religion is far beyond my understanding. I am fully aware it’s not religion that is involved it is a much deeper menace that is breeding at an uncontrollable rate. Whatever be the foul play, all I know is bombing and killing innocent lives can never ever be justified, under no circumstances. No dictionary can ever provide words strong enough to describe an untimely loss of innocent life, there were never any words nor are there any words. It’s the sickening, gory and appallingly disturbed mind-set that aims to harm those who are not even in the least at fault. It feels even more wretched to read every single time it happens. The year 2016 has been exceptionally dark till now, wish I had a magical wand to give it a fresh start. The worst of all forms of helplessness is the spectacle of loss of innocent lives, to see these Goddamned lunatics, who in reality have not even a single iota of religion in them, drag faith into some misconstrued justification for their madness. In reality, their actions are in every way and every aspect contrary to the ways of religion. That’s primarily one reason why I never judge any religion by its followers, because followers could be misguided and brain washed any time. Religion is always pure, and no religion on earth preaches hatred. The essence of every religion is to promote peace, love and forgiveness. Violence is not related to any religion and in no form should it be condoned; else the blood shed will never stop.


If we talk about Germany, it is essentially a pluralistic society, progressive and independent of religious diktats. Freedom of religion in Germany is guaranteed by Article 4 of the Basic Law or Grundgesetz. Article 4 talks about freedom of faith and of conscience, and freedom of creed religious or ideological, are inviolable. It guarantees undisturbed practice of religion. Together the Roman Catholic church and Protestant church, account for slightly more than 60% of the total population in Germany. Roughly 33 % of the Germans are nonreligious, claiming membership in no church or religion at all. The Muslim population is somewhere around 5%. Other religious groups in smaller percentages include Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Jehovah’s witnesses etc. The General Act on Equal treatment prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, ethnic origin, race, religion, disability, age and sexual identity. The criminal code prohibits inciting or instigating disturbances of the public order by insulting faiths, religious societies, and ideological groups. Violation of criminal code is punishable by up to three years in prison plus fine. However, in my study on different religions residing in Germany I came to know that Germany is quite restrictive when it comes to Scientology.  In fact, there is an Anti-scientology sentiment apparent in the society. The reason I found most convincing is due to its bad experience with Nazism in the past, Germany is very cautious not to let extremism of any sort dwell on its soil. Germans feel a strong sense of responsibility to uproot any practice that could any day turn catastrophic. Majority of Germans feel that scientology is nothing short of a cult with authoritarian designs which jeopardize democracy. Both the Catholic and Protestant Churches have voiced unanimously against Scientology, and characterized it as a prototypical new age cult. The church of scientology in Germany has no claim over the church tax money, and is officially despised as a mere conspiracy that drives its followers to both spiritual and financial bankruptcy.


What amazes me the most about Germany is the rational and unbiased manner in which it handles crime. They don’t jump to conclusions without thorough checks and investigation. In the wake of latest untoward incidents in Munich, had it been some other country it would have out rightly labelled the perpetrator as a ‘terrorist’ but Germany conducted proper investigation and based upon enquiry ruled out any connection of the criminal with any terrorist organization, and called him a man with violent inclination instead. Ironically, if a person from any other religious background commits any heinous crime, he is labelled as psychologically impaired or a psychopath, whereas, if the same crime is committed by a Muslim, he becomes a terrorist, by default. That’s nothing but hypocrisy. At least, this country relies on a system of fair trial. I won’t say that the system is completely honest without lacunae, but I can say with full assurance, it is far better than many other nations.


Another thing that I much appreciate about Germany is, it does not mix religion with governance. For the secular status of any progressive society it is absolutely essential that it remains free of religious domination, else, the society disintegrates which is conspicuous in so many of the democratic countries of the world today. They are secular only in name but their minorities are manhandled, suppressed and live in constant fear. Religion should be given its due importance, but it should not be turned into a weapon for attacking people who belong to different faiths.  Religion came to unite people against all odds, don’t misinterpret and misuse it to divide people. I grew up adhering firmly to the teachings of my religion that emphasise greatly on mercy, random acts of kindness, respect to mankind irrespective of the social, religious or ethnic backgrounds. My religion has taught me that to kill an innocent life is as though you have killed the entire humanity, and to save even a single life is like saving the entire humanity. No matter what madness in unleashed in the world today in the name of religion, and no matter what religion these murders claim to associate themselves with. No religion associates itself with murderers of humanity. They are a lost cause not even worth being called as humans. The underlying principle of each religion is service to humanity and not slaying humanity. I don’t believe in partial humanity, I empathise with the sufferings of people in totality, no matter who they are or where they live. If I can change my profile picture on Facebook to show solidarity with France in the wake of recent shootings, I will not shy away from doing the same in support of the millions who are being ruthlessly killed and bombed in middle east. Every life is precious, no life is superior and no life is subservient to the other.


I would like to finish this blog with a sincere prayer that may unity, peace and most importantly, common sense prevail in the world. Let the beauty of a multicultural society grow and not erode it by religious intolerance.

Welcome on board to Germany

That moment when your spouse comes home and breaks the news, they have found a lucrative job offer in Germany. What is the most expected reaction of the other spouse; delighted or ambivalent or down right anxiety or a flat rejection? We all witness such situations at some point in our lives. Moving to a foreign land is not everyone’s cup of tea. There is a marked difference between visiting a new country as an explorer, and actually living in a foreign country as an expatriate. But, what if the above two combine together? Still don’t get it? Be an expat explorer, the mantra for a most productive stay abroad. Explore the new land, its culture, its language, its societal norms, the local cuisine, the local music and the local beverages, while you work your way there. The crux of the matter, however remains, that most expatriates inadvertently build a wall around themselves by not opening up. This is where the problem lies. As expats we tend to get too wary of the new land and its natives.

Before embarking on a journey to any foreign country with regards to employment (in our case, Germany), it is advised that you understand, and also make your family realize, the possible challenges which might come along following the move. This is something very common and natural. The decision of relocating to a foreign land, and its implications on your future life should be pondered.

Living abroad is like rose picking. With its many advantages come sizeable trials as well. After all, the roses come with thorns too. As an expatriate, one has to be prepared to face the daunting hurdles which keep brewing up, more frequently in the initial years. For example, all the sweating and running around the foreign office and hell lot of bureaucratic complications. However tough it may be for you to adjust to the local surroundings, do not live in the expat bubble of familiarity and comfort. Every day should dawn with more positivity in you. You might trip a few times or feel unsettled or think that all has gone awry in Germany.  It’s not so, what you are experiencing is something very usual, most expats face it. Every expatriate living abroad goes through phases of acceptance and rejection by the host country. It is not anything only you are subjected to. Off course, if its Germany, the ways of business dealings, work ethics and socializing, would all be German and different from what we are used to. As an expat you are supposed to learn all the nuances of the culture of the host country.

When we step into foreign countries we try to build our own familiar group with familiar faces, in order to remain close to what we can easily relate to, thereby, further alienating ourselves from the local environment. This familiarity seeking tactic hinders the transition of an expatriate into a comrade. Thus, they will forever feel out of place, and the host country will forever seem like a ‘foreign country’.

Indeed, there is an element of culture shock, but the sooner we get over it, the better it is for our own good. It is best not to carry the baggage of our own culture to a foreign land, and expect others to comprehend and respect it. Instead, be more open minded and accept the change. Let yourself be accommodative and open to newer friendships.

For a healthy and a steady integration into German society, first you need to cleanse yourself of all the false impressions and stereotypes you have created in your mind. Believe me, this alone is a big leap towards successfully assimilating into a foreign country, which can turn out to be a life rewarding experience. One thing that has to be understood well is, ‘any transformation takes time.’ You can’t sleep one night, and wake up the next morning behaving like a German. A few years have to be invested before you start embracing the new land as your new abode. The trick is, to not let the fear of mingling up with the locals take the better of you. We often feel, ‘what would others think if I speak wrong German, or what would they think, if I behave differently than them in any situation, God! I would be so awkward.’ Friends, go easy. Nobody gives a damn! That’s the best part of being in Germany. Also, blunders are a guide to learning. Patience and perseverance, are the keys to unlocking the art of adaption. The best thing you could do is, say goodbye to all these diabolical thoughts that obstruct your integration process.

Once the integration part has been handled, half the battle is won except that there still remains a catch. The big question is ‘what about the trailing spouses’? Mostly, the women follow their husbands on their projects/work abroad. Hence, they quit their existing jobs. Though, usually the trailing spouses manage to get jobs in the new land sooner or later, but there have also been cases of failure to do so which leads to frustration. Many spouses who were actively involved in jobs in their respective home countries, ever since they have made a move to Germany, they complain of crisis in their lives in terms of career and identity. Their dream of a prospective career in a new land is slowly wearing off, and life has become plainly mundane. Under such circumstances, even the strongest, and the must adjusting of spouses, would fall into pits of depression and frustration, which are born due to constant comparison between their current unemployed state and their past productive state.

To all those, who hate the tag of being labelled as ‘a trailing or accopanying or an expat spouse’ trust7 provides you a breather from all your mounted frustrations due to lack of a proper job. Yes! You heard it right. If you are an engineer, and are still struggling to find a job apt for you, give trust7 a chance to help you in job hunting. In the words of Mr Detlef von Hellfeld, founder of trust7, “trust7 offers a chance on a freelance/success basis to assist you in your career as a consultant in HR business.” All you need to do is, forward your updated CV as per German standards to Mr Detlef and wait to hear some good news. As for professionals in other fields like me, there is a plethora of options to choose from, but, I would suggest that you begin with learning German first. Even if you have the knack for creating your own future job, you still require the native language for growth.

Moving past the language hurdle allows free access to the heart of any land and its culture. By learning the new language, you gain an insight and understanding of the ways of functioning of a particular culture. Language unlocks all distances and discomforts; you may have as an expat in Germany. It makes you, and others around you, more at ease with one another. The more hesitant you are in approaching the locals, the locals are even more hesitant to open up with you, because you are a foreigner who speaks an alien language. Friendship breeds on familiarity, that’s why German is pivotal. After all, you are in their land, you should take the initiative of learning their native language and remove the disquiet around you. 

Funny enough, in every non English speaking country I have visited so far, I have come across a group of expats who mumble-grumble about the toughness of the language they are supposed to learn. So, basically every non English speaking country, with its own language, somehow gets labelled as the country with the most difficult language and very unwelcoming.This is the most common statement by which we try to gain public sympathy, and conceal our own lazy to learn attitude. The ‘I will do it tomorrow attitude’ is to be held responsible for distancing us from the host country, and we have to get away with as soon as possible, if we want steady settlement in Germany. ‘I will do it tomorrow’ gets postponed so far that eventually it becomes impossible. We all know tomorrow never comes, so do it today. It is sad but true that the vast majority of expats, despite living in a foreign country for years learn close to nothing with regards to the local language, and thus the feeling of loneliness and isolation. Then, we blame the locals for being unfriendly and practicing discrimination. In reality, it is clearly failure on our part to integrate. But it is always easy to accuse the natives of behaving differently towards us.

I would summarize by saying that don’t let the charisma of a new land fade away.  Let the fire of fascination remain ignited in you. Come out of the comfort zone, and explore the newness around you. You know the best part about being an expat is that our early struggles in adapting ourselves to the new environment make us stronger than ever. We gradually learn to overcome our worst fears and appreciate the good times. An expat’s life is a true adventure. How thrilling you make your adventure is up to you.

Tune into local radio, hear German music, read German newspapers, listen to German news…. all this even if you don’t know a word of German. That’s how you will slowly start picking up the language and develop a flair for it. You don’t have to become Friedrich Schiller or Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in holding conversations with fellow Germans, just a normal expat who is learning a new language and struggling with accusative, dativ and genetiv.

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