The number of migrants in Germany has increased tremendous since the summer of 2015. Whereas accommodating refugees and distributing them in Germany has worked out well, it is now time to help those displaced persons to find a job. Integration into the job market is the only possibility for a working integration in the long term. While working in a local company, refugees learn the language in a more practical way than in German lessons. They come in contact with colleagues, and therefore can reduce prejudices that are present in German society. But most important, they have the opportunity to build a career, or rather rebuild the career they had in their home country. By having an own income, they get more independent by state support, and can even support regional economy. In addition to that, they get appreciation and respect by the public.
A long-term study by University of California, Davis has analyzed the integration of half a million immigrants from Vietnam during the 1980s in the United States. The research has shown, that a larger group in the Midwest that found work immediately was able to provide for their own living after a short period. Immigrants in California on the other hand received help by state programs. They were put into language courses, instead of a workplace. After their training only few Vietnamese found work, most of them were unemployed or had just a low-paying job.
This study definitely shows the struggle in Germany right now. The process of a workplace integration by the German job agency is very strict: Refugees have to take German lessons, education in German cultural studies, and they also have to do internships and application training. But all these trainings might isolate migrants, since they only meet other people taking German lessons. By directly starting to work in companies and meeting local people, integration in a non-bureaucratic way would be more successful. According to numbers by the German job agency, only 34 000 migrants are employed at the moment, whereas about 400 000 refugees are registered as job-seeking. An OECD report shows, that among 2000 German companies there is a huge majority of over 80%, that is satisfied with refugees as employees. It is to be said, that two third of working migrants are hired in low-skilled jobs, but nevertheless, this shows that jobs contribute to integration.
A good example is Deutsche Bahn, the German railway company. They are employing 120 young refugees with an apprenticeship with more to follow next year. German Minister for Employment Andrea Nahles announces, that “integration by work is just at the beginning”, but it is a good start. The program “Integration by work” by the Bavarian government has helped 35 000 refugees to get jobs and apprenticeships, therefore it was more successful than expected.
German government has achieved a lot for integration so far, but there is still much work to do. Legal questions, as e. g. the permanent right to stay in Germany, are still obstacles and problems for companies to hire more refugees for work or internships. The “3+2 rule” was introduced with new integration laws in August 2016, which allows refugees to stay in Germany for two years for work purposes, after they have finished a three-year training. But there are too many uncertainties, for the employer and the employee both, if there is no guaranteed right to stay after this period. It does not make any sense to deport a refugee during his training period, when he is already fully integrated in his environment. For a better integration, there should be even more effort put into making jobs available to more young immigrants.