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):

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.

Part of the game or just onlookers? Political participation and social engagement among people in Germany with migrations backgrounds

Study | December 2020

Migration has led to growing diversity in Germany. Migrants to Germany, like their children and grandchildren, are increasingly participating in central areas of society. But overall, people with a migration background are still less likely to become involved in political activities or engage with civil society than those without such a background. This is the key finding of a new study of the Expert Council’s Research Unit , which carried out an empirical investigation of how people with and without a migration background participate in society, based on current data from SVR’s Integration Barometer. The study highlights the factors which influence political participation and social engagement, and offers recommendations on how to increase participation among people with a migration background.

The study forms part of the BePart - Political Participation Starts at the Local Level! project, designed and delivered by Minor – Projektkontor für Bildung und Forschung. The project is supported by the Federal Government Commissioner for Migration, Refugees and Integration and the Federal Agency for Civic Education.

Coming together while keeping a distance. The SVR’s 2020 Integration Barometer

2020 SVR Report | December 2020

The SVRʼs Integration Barometer is a representative public survey of people with and without a migration background. It captures the integration climate in Germany as an immigration country. The Integration Climate Index (ICI), a measure of coexistence in diversity, forms the core of the Integration Barometer and covers the areas of work, education, and social and neighbourly relations. The survey on which the 2020 Integration Barometer is based focused on changes in attitudes to democracy and politics before and after the coronavirus lockdown measures took effect in March 2020. Prominence is given to analyses of satisfaction with democracy and trust in politicians in general and the Federal Government in particular, as well as to trust in school and the police as institutions.