Rainer Zachert, the owner of Bäckerei Zachert in Leonberg, Germany, was shocked last week when he received a call from a judge informing him that one of his apprentices had been taken from school and deported to The Gambia.
The 28-year-old Gambian, who had dreams of becoming a pastry chef, was sent back to his home country despite having an ongoing training contract with the bakery. The reason for the deportation, among others, was a drug offence in the past.
The refugee (name withheld) had already served his sentence for the drug offence in 2019, and his asylum application had been rejected by the responsible regional council in January 2018. He was supposed to leave Germany within a week.
However, the regional council cited a lack of travel documents as one of the reasons for his deportation five years later, despite having a current training contract with the bakery. Furthermore, his conviction for “commercial drug trafficking” meant that a “stay permit” for the Gambian is legally excluded.
From a legal standpoint, the deportation may seem understandable, but from a human perspective, bakery owner Zachert found it questionable.
Speaking to Regio-tv, Mr. Zachert stated that his apprentice had done everything possible to reintegrate and assimilate himself into German society.
He was deeply missed at work, and his sudden deportation has left his Gambian friend and former roommate, who is also an apprentice at the bakery, feeling uncertain about his own future.
Zachert is now trying to find a solution for his apprentice by connecting with a bakery in Senegal, The Gambia’s neighbouring country. He hopes to place him there, even though he was unable to complete his apprenticeship in Germany.
The case of the Gambian pastry chef apprentice’s deportation highlights the complex and often harsh realities of Germany’s immigration policies. Many are outraged that someone who had worked hard to integrate into society and had a legitimate training contract was still sent back to their country of origin.
It raises important questions about the effectiveness and fairness of Germany’s immigration system and the treatment of refugees who are trying to build a new life in the country.