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.

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.