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Plans for going back during the corona pandemic – questions and answers

Returning to your home country involves many questions even under normal circumstances. The corona pandemic adds completely new uncertainties. Here you can learn the most important facts about the situation at present. Eight questions and answers.
1) Can I return to my home country during the corona pandemic?
Generally yes, although entry into some countries is now only possible under certain conditions. An overview of the current regulations can be found here. If you can enter, then you need to expect increased controls and health checks. You may even have to go into quarantine upon arrival. In general you should be well informed about the pandemic situation in your home country.

2) Where can I find information about the situation in my home country?
The advice centre in your country of origin can help you with this. These are operated by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). You will find contact details by going to the Startfinder homepage and clicking on the name of your home country. Information on the corona situation in various countries is also provided by the Federal Foreign Office.

3) If it's not possible to return at the moment – can I at least prepare for it?
Yes, of course. Simply contact your nearest return consultation centre. The address is available on the website Returning from Germany. The team of advisors will speak to you about your opportunities and prospects and pass the necessary information to a reintegration scout. This scout will then put you in touch with the advice centre in your home country.

4) Are the advice centres open during the corona pandemic?
Most centres are temporarily closed. But they are still providing advice – the team can be contacted by phone, e-mail or Skype. The advisors can even have a personal conversation with you online. You can get an idea of how advice is given during the corona pandemic by clicking here. An advisor from Ghana is interviewed about her new everyday life.

5) What digital equipment do I need to get advice online?
It is of course ideal if you have access to a computer and a stable internet connection. That means the advisors can give you coaching via video and work together with you on developing business plans or calculating estimates, for example. It may sometimes be possible to arrange an internet voucher or access to a hotspot for you. You can still always receive advice by phone if none of these are possible for you.

6) The corona pandemic is likely to have severe economic consequences for my home country. Is it even realistic to find a job or start a business there in the near future?
That depends on the specific situation in the relevant country – and on the sector in which you plan to operate. While some sectors like tourism, hotels and restaurants will probably find it difficult for quite some time, there could for instance be new opportunities in health or food distribution. It is best to contact the advice centre in your home country to assess the local situation.

7) I'm interested in starting a business, but would definitely need to do a preparatory training course in Germany first. Is anything like that happening at the moment?
There are currently very few training courses where groups come together in person. Nevertheless, GIZ partners who prepare people in Germany who are interested in returning are still working. They provide their training and coaching courses by phone or online. For instance, the coaches from Social Impact StartHope@Home are continuing to support people in starting a business – on a case-by-case basis even involving physical meetings between coach and returnee. The Newplacement International project run by the educational institution Bildungswerk der Baden-Württembergischen Wirtschaft also gives priority to digital consultancy. Your return consultation centre will work together with a reintegration scout and the advice centre in your home country to inform you about additional offers which may be available in Germany.

8) What are the experiences of others who are planning their return during the pandemic?
Here you can read the story of a Gambian who is preparing to return to his home country despite the corona pandemic. It involves him using different advice and assistance services.

Image copyright ©️ DPA

As of: 07/2020

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