The motives and motivation of volunteers in refugee assistance. Results of a survey on volunteer work

Study | April 2024

Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 led to a surge in willingness to help those who fled to Germany. The scientific staff of the Expert Council on Integration and Migration (SVR) conducted a survey on volunteer work to investigate the motives and attitudes of those who volunteer to support refugees. Based on that analysis the study discusses recommendations for future mobilisation strategies that are aimed at politicians and authorities at the municipal level as well as at employers, associations and civil society organisations at the local level.

Permanent residence, return or circular mobility? Options for Ukrainian war refugees after temporary protection

Study | January 2024

More than four million war refugees from Ukraine are currently living in the European Union, a quarter of them in Germany. In 2022, a temporary collective protection scheme was adopted by the European Union. It will expire in March 2025. The German and the other European governments have only one year left to make the necessary preparations for future regulations. The scientific staff of the Expert Council on Integration and Migration (SVR) has therefore conducted a study to analyse what legal options are available for a continued stay of war refugees and how the legitimate interests of Ukraine, the current host countries and the refugees themselves can be taken into account through assisted return or circular mobility. The study provides recommendations both for policy-makers at European level and for the federal and state governments in Germany.

Police stops in Germany: People who look foreign are stopped more frequently

Policy Brief | November 2023

Discriminatory police practices such as racial profiling have been the subject of debate in Germany for a number of years – though without any reliable underlying statistics. The scientific staff of the Expert Council on Integration and Migration (SVR) has now for the first time examined the link between perceived phenotypic difference and police stops in Germany based on data drawn from a national representative survey. The findings show that respondents who are perceived as foreign are stopped by the police around twice as frequently as those who are not.

The policy brief is based on an analysis of data taken from the SVR’s 2022 Integration Barometer. A total of 15,005 people with and without a migration background were surveyed between late November 2021 and early July 2022 for the fourth such national representative survey.

Selective Solidarity? What makes people willing to help refugees

Policy Brief | July 2023

Refugee migration to Germany increased significantly again in 2022. The number of asylum applications submitted by people from countries such as Syria or Afghanistan continued to rise, while from February 2022, refugees began to arrive in Germany as a result of the war in Ukraine. Against this backdrop, in the spring of 2023 the SVR Research Unit carried out a study to investigate whether the German population’s willingness to accept and support refugees varies in relation to different refugee groups.

The policy brief shows that help is especially likely to be offered to Ukrainian, Christian, highly educated women who intend to return home. However, there is a substantial willingness to support refugees in general. The difference in the willingness to help one group more than another is only marginal, and depends, too, on the personal characteristics of the respondents. Political attitudes, a feeling of political self-efficacy and trust in institutions are all particularly relevant for whether or not a respondent shows solidarity towards those seeking asylum. This means that local politics could have an important influence on behaviours; in areas where the local citizens feel that their needs are being addressed, this is likely to have a positive effect on solidarity with refugees.

The Policy Brief was funded by the Stiftung Mercator.

Precarious employment – precarious participation. Foreign workers in the German low-wage sector

Study | June 2023

Foreign workers have played an indispensable role in numerous sectors of the German economy for many years. This also applies to sectors in which precarious low-paid employment under harsh working conditions is often the rule rather than the exception. The SVR has carried out a qualitative interview study on the causes and effects of the precarious labour market conditions experienced by foreign workers. The study provides practice-oriented recommendations for action by government, business and civil society.

Climate change and migration: What we know about the connection and what options there are for action

Annual Report | October 2023

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges faced by humanity. The consequences of global warming are multi-layered. Climate change-induced alterations in the environment and extreme weather events exacerbate not only existing social, economic and political pressures, but also increase the pressure to migrate. Climate change-induced migration is on the rise.

In its fourteenth Annual Report, the SVR analyses how climate change is influencing global, regional and local migration patterns and the urgent need for governments and policy-makers to respond.

In terms of practical politics, the SVR recommends using the entire spectrum of migration policy instruments. This includes measures adopted from refugee policies such as granting humanitarian visas, temporary legal protection or the suspension of repatriations to affected countries and regions, along with approaches from the field of migration policy, such as regional agreements on the free movement of persons. Further, the SVR proposes three innovative instruments: a climate passport, a climate card and a climate work visa. In adopting these instruments, the German Federal Government could assume a pioneering role in international responses to climate change and migration. The measures recommended by the SVR must be understood as building blocks in a greater overarching strategy comprising all tiers of politics, the economy and society. Such a strategy requires coordinated action that transcends departmental boundaries.

Living without a passport: The situation of stateless people in Germany

Policy Brief | May 2023

For most people, having a nationality is a matter of course. It links them to a particular state through a set of rights and obligations and gives them the protection of that state. People who are stateless or whose nationality is undetermined have correspondingly fewer rights. Especially in the context of refugee immigration since 2014, the phenomenon has gained in importance: in 2022, around 29,500 stateless persons and around 97,000 persons with an unclear nationality were living in Germany - twice as many as in 2014. Knowledge about these groups has so far been limited; they barely play a role in the public and political debate. This is despite the fact that they are a particularly vulnerable group and statelessness is considered internationally as undesirable.

The Policy Brief takes a first look at these groups and examines their socio-demographic composition as well as their legal situation in Germany. It shows that around one-third of those with an unclear nationality were already born in Germany; for the group of stateless persons, the number was 16 per cent. Two-thirds of the stateless persons and more than half of those with undetermined nationality have been living in Germany for more than six years; many have either only a temporary residence title or no residence title at all. Overall, it is clear that the barriers to recognition of statelessness are very high, as there is no transparent and systematic determination procedure.

The Policy Brief was funded by the Robert Bosch Stiftung.

2022 Integration Climate: Slightly More Positive, With a Few Exceptions

SVR Report | December 2022

The SVR’s Integration Barometer measures the “integration climate” in Germany’s immigration society and captures the population’s perceptions of and attitudes towards integration and migration. This fourth nationwide survey, which had more than 15,000 respondents, is representative of people with and without a migration background at both the national and regional level. At the national level the survey is also representative of various groups of origin.

The integration climate has proved to be extraordinarily stable. A slightly more positive trend can be made out across all groups of origin when findings are compared to those of the previous survey conducted in 2019/20. The Integration Climate Index rose from 66.3 to 68.5 points. The increase over the last two years was especially notable among people without a migration background – it grew by 2.5 points to 68.1. The Integration Climate Index among people with a migration background rose by 1.3 points to a total of 70.1.

Integration legislation at the federal state level: An updated review – and lessons learnt for the federal government

Study | November 2022

Germany’s federal states have wide scope when it comes to drafting legislation on integration policy. Over the past 10 years, five of them have used this leeway to adopt laws on integration and participation, two of which have already undergone wide-ranging reform. Other federal states are in the process of drafting such legislation. The federal government’s coalition agreement makes provision for a federal act on the integration and participation of people with a migration history. Against this backdrop, the SVR’s scientific staff, working on behalf of the Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community, updated a Policy Brief on integration policy legislation at the federal state level that was first published in 2017. A comparison of the applicable regulations in Berlin, North Rhine-Westphalia, Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria and Schleswig-Holstein shows that laws on integration and participation can not only give integration policy a symbolic boost, but can also have a steering effect, because they both enshrine basic principles in law and establish or strengthen coordination and cooperation structures. Their effectiveness is determined by both how they have been drafted and how they are implemented. From its analysis of federal state legislation the study also extrapolates ideas for the planned federal act on integration and participation.

Seeking a partner? The state and migrant umbrella organisations in integration policy

Policy Brief | November 2022

Migrant organisations have established numerous umbrella organisations across Germany which are both evolving rapidly and regarded as key partners of integration policy. And yet, there are still many knowledge gaps when it comes to the relationship between the state and migrant umbrella organisations. The Policy Brief investigates these migrant umbrella organisations’ social roles and functions and how they fit into the organisational landscape of interest groups as a whole. They do not constitute a homogeneous organisational form, but differ in terms of what they offer and in respect of their (integration policy) representation claims. Each organisation’s particular focus has a bearing on its relationships with the realms of politics and administration. This publication prepares the ground for a broader-based research project on migrant umbrella organisations at the federal level and their relationships with state actors.