IT specialist tricks Ausländerbehörde booking system to sell appointments online
With the shortage of available services at many of Germany’s Immigration Offices (Ausländerbehörden) so desperate, an IT specialist decided to sell black market appointments online, a new report has uncovered.
German Ausländerbehörde appointments sold widely via online black market
A report by Tagesspiegel has revealed that, after turning to forums on the internet or Facebook groups for advice, a number of people in Germany desperately seeking an appointment at their local Ausländerbehörde were privately messaged and propositioned to buy an appointment for between 40 and 100 euros.
Though an appointment at one of Germany’s migration offices is free, extreme employee shortages, a near absolute lack of digital services and a growing number of people coming to the country mean that appointments, even for urgent matters, are in short supply. In some cases, people queue through the night for a visa appointment only to be turned away because their document expiration date is still more than one week away and thus not considered an urgent case.
According to the newspaper, the mysterious forum user turned out to be an opportunistic IT specialist, who was writing code which allowed them to book Ausländerbehörde appointments before they became available online to everyone else. And this is no isolated case, the business of selling appointments is flourishing online, Tagesspiegel explained, with other coders offering similar services via WhatsApp or Telegram groups and even two websites doing so publicly in exchange for a 50-euro fee.
IT specialist made up to 1.000 euros selling German visa appointments
Speaking to the newspaper, the former computer sciences student, named only as "T", explained that they had come up with the idea to sell the service online after personally failing to get an Ausländerbehörde appointment.
Having graduated from university in Berlin, T was looking to get a job, but couldn't get an appointment at the local office for the required visa. This was what sparked the idea to write a code which would send T an email notification saying that a new appointment was available before it was visible to everyone else. Once the code had been developed, T began offering the service in January 2023.
According to the paper, T earned between 800 and 1.000 euros selling appointments to people from Afghanistan, Israel, Lebanon, Nigeria and the USA. T told the newspaper that they decided to call quits on the service for fear of discovery and reprisal, but added that they felt no moral qualms about having exchanged the appointments for money, since many individuals or companies offer the same services, meaning that it is nigh impossible for people to get an appointment in the traditional way.
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