Refugee Jobs

Putting Refugees to Work

Projekt bereitet Flüchtlinge auf Ausbildung vor
Are migrants being given the chance to integrate into the job market? Source: DPA

When Bavarian company Kaeser Kompressoren hired refugee brothers Ahmad and Ayman Shanana for a three-year traineeship, it was the perfect win-win situation. In Germany’s second-wealthiest state, around 12,000 trainee positions are unfulfilled, according to the Federal Employment Agency. The young men in their early 20s fled war-torn Syria during the height of the refugee crisis and are eager to make a better life for themselves in Germany. Rüdiger Hopf, head of training at the family-run air compressor company, said Ahmad and Ayman are fast learners. They are studying German and even have their German technical terms down pat.

Everyone would be pleased – if it weren’t for the overwhelmingly bureaucratic system that constantly seems to threatens the arrangement. Ahmad is allowed to work at least three years and will be able to complete the traineeship, but Ayman was only given a six-month permit.

“We have to keep checking if we are even still allowed to employ him,” Mr. Hopf told Handelsblatt’s sister publication Wirtschafts Woche. “It’s more and more frustrating.”

It’s just one of countless cases in which the German labor market is struggling to successfully integrate refugees. About half of the almost 1.3 million asylum seekers who arrived in Germany since 2015 are unemployed. Only 18 percent have a proper job, according to the Nuremberg-based Institute for Employment Research.

The institute, which has published a monthly migration monitor since 2015, found that only 143,000 refugees have landed a job that provides social security insurance. Meanwhile, the number of asylum seekers now on unemployment benefits has doubled over the last year to half a million.

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