We fought hard, but by the end of the year we had to admit defeat with respect to the 8 Senegalese class members: the ministry was adamant, they were not allowed to work. (Only one person who knew a politician who knew the minister was allowed to start the course for Carer almost right away, just a few weeks late.)
Two had left Germany, one started a school for which he didn't need a permit work, hoping that something would work out (he got married to a German woman just after he finished and has been working for a while now). Two went to language classes to improve their German further, one of them has recently started the nursing training because regulations have changed even for Senegalese with respect to work permits for nursing. And one 'stayed' with me - we have become friends, and because I had already helped him with a lawyer and a court case regarding his legal status in Germany it just turned out that I was trying to help him further. He didn't really want to do nursing, being an electrician by training at home. An attempt to get a work permit for becoming a sanitary an air conditioning engineer was unsuccessful right after the year in class. When I started my own training he started engineering school, for which he didn't need a permit. Nevertheless, we applied again. We sent several letters to Senegal to obtain some kind of documents, he phoned, he went to the embassy... no reply from the German authority despite all his attempts. In January, 18 months after the application for his permit, and knowing that again some rules were being changed, I sent a letter threatening to take them to court for inaction - he was summoned to appear on Thursday, and we were both scared. But the almost unimaginable happened - he was granted the permit to stay for the duration of the school course. With a work permit for two years afterwards, and then he will have been in the country for long enough that he will have reached the time when the sheer length of presence in the country will have gained him the right to stay.
He does have to continue his attempts to obtain a passport. With this status he will not be deported upon presenting it, however, which had been the threat all these years.
We were both completely surprised yesterday and I was as if under shock for the rest of the day. Have to get used to the new situation first. But it is beginning to sink in.