A turning point in labour market integration? Participation and precariousness: Ukrainians in the German labour market

Policy Brief | August 2022

Before the Russian war of aggression on Ukraine, Ukrainians working in Germany were often employed under precarious working conditions in the legal niche and grey zone of the low-wage sector. The activation of the Temporary Protection Directive granted temporary residence permits to all Ukrainian refugees in Germany. As a result, they have immediate access to the labour market, qualify for employment promotion measures and are eligible for the benefits provided under Germany's basic income support system. The Policy Brief examines the extent to which the realities of labour migration and forced displacement expose people from Ukraine to the risk of precarious working and living conditions. The activation of the Temporary Protection Directive and the switch to the German basic income support system have removed many of the key legal limitations on participation for Ukrainian refugees. However, this does not mean that the structural barriers to participation that exist in the labour market and in bureaucratic practice have been overcome. The risk of precarious working and living conditions remains.

Refugees as new citizens – the potential in the coming years

Policy Brief | June 2022

More and more of those who sought refuge in Germany in 2015/16 and who are now well integrated in society are applying for naturalisation. A total of 19,100 Syrian nationals were issued with a German passport in 2021, up almost three times compared to the previous year. As part of a research project the scientific staff of the Expert Council on Integration and Migration (SVR) projected the number of naturalisations by Syrian nationals in the coming years. According to those projections there is expected to be a considerable uptick in the years up until 2024 – provided the authorities are able to process a large number of applications without massive delays. The policy brief discusses concrete forecasts and addresses those steps that need to be taken to avoid both a “naturalisation backlog” and disappointing potential new citizens. Recruiting additional staff in the relevant authorities is key, but the digital transformation also has the potential to meet the mounting interest in naturalisation.

New Diaspora? Joint action and transnational networks of Afghan and Syrian communities in Germany

Policy Brief | June 2022

The number of people from Afghanistan and Syria living in Germany has risen sharply in the past decade as a result of refugee arrivals. Both communities are young and heterogeneous, and most of their members will remain permanently in Germany. With them, new diaspora organisations have emerged. They are mainly involved in humanitarian, social or political activities for the respective country of origin or for their communities in Germany. The Policy Brief summarises current facts and figures on the Afghan and Syrian population in Germany and presents initial findings regarding the structures and activities of their diaspora organisations drawing on two expert papers. The publication is part of a comprehensive research project. As part of the project, the academic staff of the Expert Council on Integration and Migration (SVR) is analysing the civil society activism and transnational engagement of the Afghan and Syrian communities in Germany and resulting socio-political opportunities and challenges.

Annual Report 2022: A Crucial Component. Migration – Support and Challenge for Germany’s Healthcare System

May 2022

A well-functioning healthcare system is essential for a well-functioning society. In its 2022 Annual Report, the Expert Council on Integration and Migration (SVR) concludes that skilled workers with a migration background are crucial to the German healthcare system. To ensure that the system continues to function effectively in the future, the report recommends improving compensation measures and the procedures for recognising foreign qualifications. Processes must be simplified, and the authorities involved need to work in a more joined-up way. Recruitment abroad must also be stepped up to promote migration for educational purposes. The SVR also warns that working conditions in the sector must be fundamentally improved, not least in light of the coronavirus pandemic. To make the system equally accessible to all, irrespective of background or migration history, healthcare must become more responsive to diversity.

Successful integration? The lifeworlds and social participation of ethnic Aussiedler

Study | March 2022

At currently around 2.6 million, ethnic Aussiedler, or repatriated ethnic Germans, make up one of the largest groups of migrants in Germany. There are very few up-to-date, comprehensive studies on this demographic, though. That is why the scientific staff at the Expert Council on Integration and Migration (SVR), in cooperation with the Research Centre at the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), investigated the current level of integration and participation of Aussiedler. Based on recent micro census data and data collected as part of the SVR Integration Barometer, aspects relating to structural, social, and cultural and identificational participation and the political views of Aussiedler were analysed and compared with those of the population without a migration background and of other first-generation migrants. The analysis shows that ethnic Aussiedler are, as a whole, well integrated and have a high level of labour market participation, a good level of German and numerous contacts to Germans without a migration background. Aussiedler from the states of the former Soviet Union, however, are often in a less propitious situation than Aussiedler from other countries of origin: they are, on average, slightly worse off economically, have a poorer command of the German language and are less likely to describe themselves as politically interested or competent. These differences are, not least, linked to level of education and to a shorter average stay in Germany.

The research project was co-funded through a grant from the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees.

Refugee Integration and Skilled Migration: A New Role for German Universities?

Expert Report | November 2021

Refugees studying at German higher education institutions face diverse obstacles which block their access to the local labour market. Some of these challenges are the same as those faced by other international students, others are much more difficult, for example as regards the right to stay in Germany. The extent to which refugees are thus able to access the labour market is therefore highly dependent on the support they receive from higher education institutions and other local organisations. The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) has developed two programmes – Integration of Refugees into Higher Education (INTEGRA) and Promoting the Professional Integration of Academics with a Refugee Background Into the German Labour Market (PROFI) – which aim to help prepare refugees for their study programmes and find employment after they graduate. Both programmes are funded by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

The accompanying study conducted by the Expert Council on Integration and Migration (SVR) analyses the effectiveness of the programme strategies in facilitating refugee students’ access to the German labour market. The goal is to describe success factors and to develop recommendations for higher education policy-makers and practitioners.

Empowering students! How teachers can use wise interventions to encourage good performance

Study | August 2021

Children with a migration background sense when their background lowers others’ expectations of their performance. Teachers can use wise interventions to help these students develop confidence in their own abilities to actually achieve good results.

SVR scientific staff have conducted a research practice project funded by Stiftung Mercator on two of these teaching interventions: values affirmation and growth mindset. Over the course of one school year the interventions were tested as part of a quantitative study with 889 children in over fifty fifth-year classes in schools in North Rhine-Westphalia. The results of the “Empowering students” evaluation study indicate that both interventions are effective in practice and lead to improved performance in mathematics. In some cases the interventions continued to be effective right through the period of the Corona pandemic.

The project also resulted in a handbook that contains background information about the interventions as well as teaching and teacher-training materials. The handbook and a video are available at the following link (only available in German): https://www.svr-migration.de/weise-interventionen.de

Tuned in? How people with a migration background in Germany use and trust the media

Policy Brief | August 2021

A great deal of interest is being shown in the media usage of people with a migration background, as it raises the question of whether the mass media play a role in migrants’ integration processes and, if so, what role. Sufficiently differentiated data required for a scientific analysis of this issue are as yet unavailable, though. This fact led the Expert Council on Integration and Migration (SVR) to incorporate various questions concerning media use and trust in media in the questionnaire for its 2020 Integration Barometer. In addition to traditional media such as (online) newspapers and magazines and (online) TV, they included questions relating to social media consumption. This Policy Brief by the SVR’s scientific staff analyses the data collected and presents a number of new findings on migrants’ use of and trust in media.

Annual Report 2021: Diversity as the new normal? How Germany deals with difference as an immigration country

May 2021

Diversity has grown in Germany, partly as a consequence of migration. But how does Germany, as a country of immigration, deal with this increased diversity? In its 2021 Annual Report, the Expert Council on Integration and Migration (SVR) offers recommendations on strengthening political and labour market participation for people with a migration background in Germany, so that differences in where people come from do not lead to social and economic inequalities. At the same time, the SVR takes a closer look at attitudes in the population to migration-linked diversity and how these have developed in the last three decades.

“No more Morias”? Origins, challenges and prospects of the hotspots on the Greek islands

Policy Brief | March 2021

The refugee camps on the Greek islands have long been overcrowded; residents are subject to precarious and insecure living conditions and lack basic services. Asylum and return procedures in the so-called hotspots are slow. The Policy Brief by the Scientific Staff of the Expert Council identifies three factors underlying the situation in the hotspots: The impact of the 2016 EU-Turkey Statement, ongoing challenges in the Greek political and administrative system, and the shortcomings of EU asylum policy. The analysis discusses the conditions that need to be met in order to improve the situation in the hotspots and makes recommendations for a future common European asylum system.