Germany is reaping the economic benefits of accepting refugees

In Germany, during the unprecedented migrant crisis in 2015-2016, 1.5 million people sought asylum. The country opened up to refugees like no other state in Europe, which caused heated debates within German society.

The initial priorities for the German government were to register and deploy a huge stream of arrivals. But after they settled, many migrants began to attend integration and language courses, trying to get into the work force of Germany.

Increasingly, this path pays off, as it can be concluded today, reports Al-Jazeera .

A recent study by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees showed that almost 35 percent of refugees who arrived in Germany in 2015 had a job by October 2018, compared with 20 percent the previous year.

Researchers also found that many refugees were able to find work, despite language difficulties and the lack of formal professional qualifications, which are usually vital for securing employment in Germany.

“What surprised us was that about 50 percent of refugees work in skilled jobs that usually require vocational training certificates or higher certificates, although only 20 percent of refugees have these types of certificates,” says Herbert Brücker of the Institute for Employment Studies. (IAB), who helped conduct the study.

According to Brucker, the combination of “favorable labor market conditions”, language programs and employment initiatives helps refugees get jobs. This also applies to refugees who have no formal vocational education, but who have previously acquired special skills in their own countries.

The inflow of human capital occurs at a critical moment for the German economy, where the population is aging, and unemployment is at its lowest after the reunification of East and West Germany in 1990.

A tight labor market signals a lack of skills, which could pose a threat to future economic growth.


The shortage of skilled workers is already being felt by the German business. A survey of more than 23,000 companies conducted by the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DIHK) showed that almost half of the companies cannot fill vacancies in the longer term, because they cannot find suitable employees.

Refugees in Germany have just come under cross-stream immigration bills, designed both to tighten the rules for asylum and to accelerate deportation, and to simultaneously remove restrictions on the labor market for asylum seekers and relief for skilled migrants who are not from countries. European Union, coming to Germany.

The package of bills approved by the German Federal Parliament or the Bundestag earlier this month included a measure that will allow asylum seekers who arrived before August 2018 to stay for a while if they have a regular job and speak German.

The current approach of the government to work and refugees, of course, came under criticism. For example, working refugees are often most vulnerable to deportation because they have not gone underground, and the state knows where to find them. Persons who have been denied a refugee application can also wait up to 12 months before they are allowed to go on vocational training or start work.

But groups such as DIHK have teamed up with the federal ministry of economics to create a network of more than 2,000 companies, including many small and medium enterprises, to help refugees integrate into the workforce.

“Companies have a serious willingness to invest time and money, overcome bureaucratic barriers and cultural differences – all because the labor market makes it necessary and because they see this as an important social contribution,” says Marlene Tile , who heads the project Dihk

Refugees use the German apprenticeship system when they are sponsored by a company and can work as well as attend vocational education institutes, Tile says.

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“Dual training has become the most important form of employment among our members, and almost half of the companies currently train people with experience in working with refugees,” she said.

Thus, the non-profit group Jobs4Refugees since its inception in 2015 has arranged more than 250 refugees to work or to educational institutions, and also helped 1,500 more in conducting trainings, seminars and consultations.

In addition to non-profit organizations, many large private firms implement their own programs to help refugees contribute to the German economy.

Last year, more than 150 refugees completed an internship program at the software giant SAP, and 57 of them got jobs at the company, said Bjorn Emde , vice president of global corporate communications at SAP.

He says that SAP is currently processing all applications from refugees as part of the overall process.

“We are confident that we will be able to cope well with applications of any kind and level of training,” said Emde. “From our point of view, the project was a great success and a great learning opportunity for all of us.”

For example, Sana Daud (pictured) is a 32-year-old software developer from Damascus who got a job at SAP as part of an internship program for refugees.

When she arrived in Ludwigshafen in early 2015 with her father and siblings, she had four years of professional experience in the field of information technology, as well as knowledge of the English language. Although she studied German, SAP allowed her to use English during her internship and appointed her mentor, who encouraged her to apply for a job.

“It was the most encouraging and supportive thing,” says Sana. “Getting this job at SAP helped me feel more secure, and also helped me get a permanent place of residence.”

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However, refugee women still rarely get a job. But Brucker from the AIB says that many women who arrived in Germany as refugees may end up at work.

“More than 70 percent of women have children, and 60 percent of these children have not reached the age of three,” he explained, adding that when these women actually find work, it will outweigh the balance in favor of the net benefit for the country.

Currently, Germany still spends more on refugees than it takes in taxes and social contributions. But the German Institute for Economic Research predicts that the balance should be positive by 2021.

“I expect that if we reach an employment level of 60 or 55 percent, this will change,” Brooker said, adding that it could take another three years.

In his material, Al-Jazeera tells the story of the Syrian Abdullah Hassoun . Arriving in Germany in November 2015, he did not know a word of German. Now, four years later, he speaks German fluently and works as a surveyor in a small engineering firm in Berlin, doing the same job that he studied at the University of Aleppo.

Hassun says that he certainly wants to contribute and help build a stronger Germany, and with it the future for her daughter, who was born in Berlin in the summer of 2016.

“We should not forget that Germany gave us a great chance to continue our life and start a better life here,” he said. “We want to show that we are here not only for the sake of money, but also in order to live, work, be productive, develop further. I am very grateful”.

Economically developed strong Germany will be built by a new generation of Germanic Muslims.

Especially for you Alihanrin Alihan!

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