This is Mr. Aljabahji", Michael Schweers introduces his product manager. Both laugh. In Meerbusch, they are head and employee at the IT company Schweers since September 2017, but they are also old acquaintances. Chance has brought them together again after years: "We met again at a trade fair in Karlsruhe, I asked him in English what he does in Germany, he answered in German that he fled to Germany and a job search "remembers Schweers. The Meerbusch entrepreneur hired the Syrian, first as a "refugee." We had to use the four weeks to see how Mr. Aljabahji fits into the company, how we can work together," says Schweers.
For several years, the two had previously worked together in Dubai. Aljabahji was involved there from 2004 to 2009 as an employee of the city in the automation of parking management. Schweers supplied the robust devices for the mobile capture of non-compliant motorists despite the strong heat, the dust and the high humidity found in the Arab Emirates.
When Aljabahji moved on to Abu Dhabi to develop the world's largest parking space concept, at that time, he again relied on the Meerbusch technology. Aljabahji managed 90,000 parking spaces as a project manager, leading a team of 160 operating forces and 500 supervisors. Living with his family in 2,000 square feet on the 26th floor with an incredible view of the city. Life was different.
The dust, the heat, the view are history. When his employment contract expired in Abu Dhabi, the job was to be filled by someone not Syrian, says Aljabahji. He had 45 days to find a new job, otherwise he had to leave the country and go back to Syria. But the war was raging in his home town. Aljabahji comes from the city of Harasta, which is located a few miles from Damascus. His house, which he bought a few years earlier, was bombed, his parents and siblings no longer there.
Aljabahji flies to Munich with his wife and two sons. From there they seek family in Lower Saxony, in a military depot and live with 16 people in a container. Then they move to a refugee home in Osnabrück. In Delmenhorst, they get their own apartment, after water damage they move twice. Every time the children have to change school - and the Aljabahji’s expects a third.
The couple attends German classes, Hecham Aljabahji soon speaks the language fluently, in April 2016 he gets his work permit. For two years he writes applications, over 270 pieces. Rarely does he get an answer, never a positive one. Frustration is spreading: "In the news, I've always heard that Germany needs highly qualified staff, especially engineers are wanted," he says.
His story makes it clear that even highly skilled foreign workers have a hard time in the local labor market. "The requirements for language skills increase with the complexity of the job offer", explains Wolfgang Draeger, operative managing director of the agency for work Mönchengladbach. There are a particularly large number of jobs in the Rhine district in crafts and care, as well as in the occupational fields of metal, electrical and gas-water installation. But lack of language skills made the mediation difficult.
Schweers has not regretted the decision. After the internship, he hired Aljabahji. "We can learn a lot from each other in our professional lives," he says. Aljabahji sits as a product manager in the office, bringing in his own ideas. Every two weeks he goes to Delmenhorst to see his family. He wants to bring them to Meerbusch, but the search for a house for the family of five is difficult. And the future is uncertain: Aljabahji’s residence and work permits expire in November. He hopes for an unlimited right of residence. "It is my dream that my children find a home in Meerbusch, that they grow up in a healthy society, experience stability and feel safe.".