Diverse activities – broad networks – partial integration? Migrants’ organisations as a creative force in society

Study | December 2020

Migrants’ organisations are an important part of the civil-society landscape. To date, though, there are hardly any reliable answers to questions such as how many migrants’ organisations there are in Germany, what issues they deal with and what kind of work they do. To fill this gap in our knowledge, the Research Unit of the Expert Council of German Foundations on Integration and Migration (SVR) conducted a two-year research project entitled “Migrants’ organisations as partners of politics and civil society”. The study presents the latest findings on the number of migrants’ organisations, their fields of activity and membership structures, and the functions they fulfil. It also makes recommendations for actors in politics, administration and civil society when it comes to improving cooperation with migrants’ organisations.

The project was funded by the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community.

Out of the maze. Easing the path to vocational education and training for young newcomers in Europe

Study | December 2020

More than five million adolescents and young adults have fled or immigrated to the European Union (EU), or have moved across EU borders, in the period since 2014. Vocational education and training (VET) increases these young people’s chances on the labour market, it promotes their social integration and contributes to filling skills shortages. This Study by the Research Unit of the Expert Council of German Foundations on Integration and Migration (SVR) draws on the example of four EU Member States – Austria, Germany, Slovenia and Spain – in order to identify structures and practices which ease young newcomers’ path to VET. The Study in particular focuses on educational integration as well as on staff employed in public authorities, educational establishments, advisory centres and other facilities at local level.

A Joint Endeavour: Shaping Migration from Africa to Europe

Annual Report 2020

April 2020

The SVR 2020 Annual Report analyses migration movements within Africa and from Africa to Europe and Germany, shedding light on the causes of migration from Africa and considering the consequences migration can have for African countries of origin. Based on this analysis, the report identifies migration policy options for Germany and the EU, discussing potential ways of managing migration for work and education, preventing irregular migration and improving protection for refugees. The report also reviews current return policies and discusses how local diaspora organisations could be better supported.

A matter of luck? Newcomers and their access to vocational education and training in Germany

Policy Brief | January 2020

More than one million adolescents and young adults aged between 16 and 25 have come to Germany as refugees or as EU migrants since 2014. The Research Unit of the Expert Council of German Foundations on Integration and Migration (SVR) conducted a study into what obstacles they face when accessing vocational education and training as well as what help is available. The Policy Brief explores the roles played by specific factors such as age, residence status, familiarity with the German education and training system, and the margins of discretion open to the relevant authorities. The research focuses on the cities of Chemnitz and Munich. It forms part of a Europe-wide comparative study which is investigating which conditions are conducive to successful educational integration and, specifically, the margins of discretion open to local actors in Austria, Germany, Slovenia and Spain.

Legal migration for work and training: Mobility options to Europe for those not in need of protection

Study | October 2019

Legal migration channels are considered to be a critical part of comprehensive migration policy and are often called for as alternatives to irregular migration for individuals not in need of international protection. In light of significant mixed migration flows to Europe, the SVR Research Unit in cooperation with the Migration Policy Institute Europe examined options for third-country nationals who seek to move legally for education, training and/or work. Through a combination of five country case studies (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Sweden) and an analysis of the European Union’s external migration policy, the study explores existing legal migration options and challenges in policy design and implementation. It also reflects on potential future approaches to legal migration policies and programmes.

Further publications related to this project:
Country case study France (by Yves Pascouau and Christophe Pouly)
Country case study Germany (by SVR Research Unit)
Country case study Italy (by Roberta Perna)

Country case study Spain (by MPI Europe)

Country case study Sweden (by Delmi / Bernd Parusel)
Can the European Union deliver feasible options for legal migration? (by SVR Research Unit)
Seasonal Worker Programmes in Europe: Promising Practices and Ongoing Challenges (by MPI Europe)

Follow this link to YouTube in order to watch a video statement by the authors Karoline Popp and Jan Schneider.

Different countries, different customs? The cultural differences refugees perceive – and how they deal with them

Policy Brief | September 2019

More than 1.8 million people applied for asylum in Germany between 2014 and 2018. As yet, however, there are only few studies which have investigated refugees’ cultural attitudes. The SVR Research Unit and Robert Bosch Stiftung asked refugees whether they perceive any cultural differences between people in Germany and people in their respective country of origin and how they deal with those differences. Issues addressed included the rule of law, gender equality, the role of the family, homosexuality and how the elderly are treated. The survey was conducted as part of the 2018 Integration Barometer.  


Can the European Union deliver feasible options for legal migration? Contradictions between rhetoric, limited competence and national interests

To The Point | June 2019

The European Union (EU) has a limited scope of action in the policy field of legal migration for work and training. While it upholds a rhetoric of comprehensive migration policy, including legal migration options as a core element of its broader migration management cooperation with third countries, its competence in the external dimension of legal migration policy is restricted by Member States’ interests. This To the Point describes the discrepancies the EU is facing with regard to its internal and external legal migration policymaking. The SVR Research Unit comes to the conclusion that while full harmonisation within this policy field is not yet in sight the EU and its Member States would be better advised to showcase the value added of joint initiatives and to start living up to their promises of promoting legal migration for work and training among its partner countries. 

The publication is part of the project “Legal Migration for Work and Training: Mobility Options to Europe for Those Not in Need of Protection”.

Eventful times. A look back at integration and migration policy of recent years

Annual Report 2019

May 2019

Over the past five years, developments in regard to German migration and integration policy have gathered great momentum on account of the large refugee inflow in 2015 and 2016. The EU, by contrast, is making hardly any progress in its attempts to reform the Common European Asylum System (CEAS), especially when it comes to sharing responsibility for the reception of asylum seekers. The Annual Report 2019 of the Expert Council of German Foundations on Integration and Migration analyses and evaluates empirical data and policy actions of recent years. One particular focus is refugee policy; migration policy is also discussed, for example in relation to developments and legislative changes made in regard to labour, educational and family migration. The public debate around integration and migration, as well as people’s attitudes to these two issues are also addressed.

In touch with politics? How people with and without a migration background perceive their political self-efficacy

Policy Brief | April 2019

Currently, around one fifth of the German population has a migration background, and that share is set to continue rising. That is why, when it comes to ensuring that democratic decisions get broad backing, it is important that both people with and those without a migration background are willing to actively participate in political life. Whether they actually do so or not depends, among other things, on how people perceive their political self-efficacy, that is to what extent the two groups believe they both understand political issues on the one hand and feel that politicians are actually interested in people’s concerns on the other. To investigate this issue further, as part of a cooperation project with the German Centre for Integration and Migration Research (DeZIM Institute) the Expert Council’s Research Unit therefore analysed data from a nationwide survey conducted between July 2017 and January 2018 for the 2018 Integration Barometer. More than 9,000 people with and without a migration background were surveyed. The data collected are representative both for these two groups and for specific groups of origin. The Policy Brief was sponsored by the German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ).

Countering demographic decline – How Germany’s shrinking universities attract and retain international students

Study | March 2019

More students than ever before are studying for a degree in Germany. Nevertheless, low birth rates and the depopulation of certain regions of the country are already leading to a drop in student enrolment at some German universities and universities of applied sciences. A number of these shrinking universities are bucking this trend by taking steps to attract international students. The SVR’s Research Unit conducted a study to find out what shrinking universities can do and are doing to attract international students, to prepare them for their courses of study, and then retain them in the local labour market once they graduate.