Report

Germany – Integrating Refugees into the Labor Market

Despite the creation of countless programs and initiatives to help new arrivals integrate into the labor market, refugees and asylum seekers face real hurdles getting jobs at their skill level. Among the barriers: Most newcomers speak little or no German and language courses are vastly oversubscribed and often prioritize groups who stand a good chance of getting protection, leaving many others to wait till their claims have been decided. Also, many newcomers lack the skills and qualifications in demand in the local labor market, and Germany’s prestigious vocational education and training (VET) system—often described as the ticket to skilled work—is not easy for these new arrivals to penetrate.

Around 1 million asylum seekers and refugees arrived in Germany in 2015, and many of them are likely to stay. Meanwhile, impending skills shortages and an aging population have encouraged many Germans to see the refugee crisis as an opportunity, and consider refugees a resource.

But challenges abound, among them getting these newcomers into jobs that are commensurate with their skills and experience—a goal that is not straightforward. Most newcomers speak little or no German, and language courses are vastly oversubscribed and often prioritize groups who stand a good chance of getting protection, leaving many others to wait till their claims have been decided. Many new arrivals lack the skills and qualifications in demand in the local labor market, and Germany’s prestigious vocational education and training (VET) system—often described as the ticket to skilled work—is not easy for newcomers to penetrate. High dropout rates among refugees and asylum seekers suggest that the system is not meeting their needs—in part because of the relative appeal of low-skilled but better-paid work, especially among those with debts to smugglers or other financial obligations. Further, while some employers see hiring refugees as a practical and moral imperative, many others fear administrative hassle or cultural clashes that might interrupt business. The prognosis is more positive for educated asylum seekers and refugees, but processes for recognizing qualifications are patchy and often lengthy. All of these challenges are further complicated by the comprehensive but splintered integration governance in Germany. Refugees themselves are often confused by the many offices they need to interact with to get support, and agencies share share information on a limited basis.

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Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at Moving Beyond Crisis: Germany’s New Approaches to Integrating Refugees into the Labor Market – Germany | ReliefWeb

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  1. Pingback: Refugees in the US – admitted 84,995 in 2016 | Job Market Monitor - January 30, 2017

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