Refugees assimilate quicker into German workforce than predicted

Refugees assimilate quicker into German workforce than predicted

New research has emerged, indicating that refugees have managed to integrate faster into the labour market than previously expected.

Thousands of refugees will find employment by end of year

When Chancellor Angela Merkel first announced Germany’s open-door policy during the peak of the migration crisis in 2015, not everyone in the country was immediately on board. However, many cities, companies and individuals took her call to help integrate all the refugees arriving in their communities to heart.

Now it’s clear their efforts have paid off, as new research from the Institute for Employment Research (IAB) indicates roughly 400.000 refugees will be successfully employed before the end of the year – exceeding the institution's expectations.

Faster than expected integration into workforce

The research, which includes a comparison of the integration of the recent influx of refugees to those fleeing the Balkan conflict in the 1990s, found that 36 percent of refugees between the ages of 15 and 64 are a part of the German workforce. Equal to between around 380.000 and 400.000 people, IAB researcher Herbert Brücker says the institute is “quite satisfied” with the numbers. Brücker also noted that the results were even more impressive when taking into account the fact that the starting conditions for refugees arriving in the country in 2015 were “particularly difficult.”

“German is much further away from Arabic, for example than the languages from the Balkan region,” said Brücker to the newspapers from Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland. Brücker expects the percentage of employed refugees to increase to 40 percent come autumn. Overall, refugees were found to be integrating into the labour market a year faster than recorded in the past. 

Many refugees skilled workers

In addition, about 50 percent of refugees with jobs are working as skilled workers, added Brücker. “This is a surprisingly high value, considering that only one in five refugees has a vocational qualification or has completed a university degree before fleeing their home country.” 

However, the research also found that many refugees are also employed as temporary workers and earn relatively low wages, serving in the catering, security, cleaning and construction sectors. What's more, many refugees are learning that even a successful integration does not guarantee their right to stay in the country, as Germany deported a record 23.617 rejected asylum-seekers in 2018.

Vivian Hendriksz


Vivian Hendriksz

Vivian is a dedicated editor and writer with a keen interest in all things lifestyle-related, from travel to culture and fashion.

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