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Corruption Unveiled: Hamburg Immigration Office Employees Arrested for Bribery Scheme

Updated: Feb 19

In a significant crackdown on corruption, German authorities have arrested two employees from Hamburg’s Foreigners’ Office amid allegations of accepting bribes to illicitly issue residence permits. The arrests come as a result of suspicions that these officials engaged in unethical practices, accepting payments in exchange for granting permits, regardless of the applicants' eligibility.

Corruption Unveiled: Hamburg Immigration Office Employees Arrested for Bribery Scheme

Liddy Oechtering, Press Officer for the Public Prosecutor, provided detailed insights into the allegations, stating, "The two Hamburg Service employees are suspected of repeatedly issuing residence permits to unauthorized foreigners since September 2022, both jointly and commercially, as employees of various locations and in return for cash provisions of a not insignificant amount via intermediaries."

The arrests were carried out on February 12 following the issuance of a warrant by Hamburg law enforcement authorities on February 9. Alongside the immigration office staff, the public prosecutor has launched a comprehensive bribery investigation, encompassing eight individuals suspected of obtaining residence permits through illicit means.


This investigation was triggered by reports received via Hamburg’s Department for Internal Investigations portal in September 2022, which highlighted concerns over potential malpractice within the residence permit issuance process. The utilization of a "corruption whistleblower system" facilitated the reporting of these suspicions, underscoring efforts to combat corruption within government agencies.

Eurostat data unveils Germany's pivotal role as a leading issuer of residence permits in Europe for 2022, accounting for 15.5 percent of all permits issued. Notably, a significant proportion of these permits were granted for family reunification, educational endeavors, and employment opportunities, showcasing Germany's attractiveness as a destination within the EU for various purposes.

Furthermore, Germany emerged as the top issuer of residence permits for several nationalities, including Indians, Syrians, Turks, and Russians. This underscores the country's appeal as a preferred destination for individuals seeking residency within the EU.

The arrests in Hamburg serve as a stark reminder of the imperative to uphold integrity and legality in immigration processes. They emphasize the critical importance of ensuring that residence permits are granted based on genuine eligibility criteria, rather than through illicit means, to preserve the integrity of the immigration system and combat corruption effectively.



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