The Expert Council of German Foundations on Integration and Migration is based on an initiative of the Stiftung Mercator and the Volkswagen Foundation. The initiative includes seven member foundations. In addition to the Stiftung Mercator and the Volkswagen Foundation, the member foundations are: Bertelsmann Stiftung, Freudenberg Foundation, Robert Bosch Stiftung, Stifterverband and Vodafone Foundation Germany.
of the Expert Council
The Expert Council’s flagship publication, the Annual Report, is released in the spring of each year. The Annual Report provides a scientifically based analysis of how integration is progressing in terms of equal opportunities for participation in the key areas of society (e.g. labour market, education) and where there is still need for improvement. Every two years the Report presents the findings from the SVR’s Integration Barometer which assesses the integration climate in Germany. In the area of migration, it looks at developments in immigration management and the opportunities presented by migration in an international context. Based on scientific analyses, the independent Expert Council develops policy recommendations in the areas of integration and migration. The Annual Report primarily aims to provide critical policy advice and support as well as objective information to the public.
Annual Report 2018
In its Annual Report 2018, the Expert Council of German Foundations on Integration and Migration (SVR) explores the legislative possibilities for steering migration and promoting the social participation of all. It summarises the existing legal situation at the national and EU levels and points to political fields of action as well as the limits of legislative design. For example, the SVR proposes to facilitate immigration for skilled workers under a German Immigration Code. As regards integration, SVR advises understanding it as a cross-cutting task. Moreover, with a view to participation, it posits that fine-tuned basic laws that apply equally to all members of society promise a broader impact than integration measures that apply only to specific segments of the population. Finally, the SVR recommends that integration monitoring be enshrined in law, that the government departments be better coordinated, and that local communities be better supported in their integration efforts. The latter should also align their integration measures more closely with one another.
Annual Report 2017
In its 2017 Annual Report, the Expert Council outlines proposals for further development of EU refugee policy that aim to redistribute responsibilities within the EU. One core element for the fair distribution of refugees are EU-wide rights of free movement that refugees could be granted under certain conditions. This year’s report also deals with possibilities and limits in the cooperation with transit countries and countries of initial reception, including the EU-Turkey Statement. In a second part, the SVR analyses the new regulations to integrate refugees in Germany, mainly in the areas of housing, education and the labour market as well the communication of values. The SVR describes the need for action that still exists for policymakers and presents concrete recommendations.
Annual Report 2016
The SVR’s 2016 Annual Report looks at religious diversity in Germany as an immigration country and the resulting institutional, political and legal challenges. The analysis shows that the equal institutional treatment of Islam is on the right track, but there are still open issues. The Annual Report also shows that the significance of religion is overrated for integration. The special section on migration and development addresses how the stronger link between migration and development strived for by the EU has developed. It was found that the prerequisites for a coherent migration and development policy continue to be lacking at EU level – although this is essential for the frequently invoked fight against the causes of people seeking refuge.
An Integration Barometer was conducted for the fourth time for this Annual Report. It once again shows that the integration climate is predominantly positive for all groups of origin.
Annual Report 2015
The Annual Report compares Germany’s migration and integration policies with the policies of selected EU countries as well as with traditional immigration countries such as Canada and the USA. The analysis shows that Germany has become one of the pioneers of modern migration policy in its labour migration policy. In EU refugee policy, the SVR recommends restructuring the Common European Asylum System. The responsibility of the country of first entry (Dublin principle) could be combined with the principle of free choice for refugees who would be able to move to another EU country after their asylum petition is approved. In addition, more collective reception procedures should be added to the individual asylum procedure, for example, for Syrian refugees.
Annual Report 2014
The Expert Council’s 2014 Annual Report assesses Germany’s transformation to a modern immigration country over the last five years and identifies a considerable need for action that still exists in some areas. While overall integration policies have produced mixed results, the liberalisation of labour migration policies has opened up numerous possibilities for the immigration of highly skilled workers. Despite these changes, an overall strategy for migration policy is still missing. In the Report, the Expert Council offers a number of recommendations to further develop integration and migration policies, e.g. a modern Citizenship Act that allows multiple citizenship even in the case of naturalisation. When it comes to the equal institutional treatment of Islam, the Expert Council sees progress but also setbacks. Within the European Asylum System a binding burden-sharing mechanism has to be developed that not only helps countries that are financially and logistically overwhelmed, but also requires less affected countries to receive refugees.
For the third time, the Annual Report featured results from SVR’s Integration Barometer. More than 5,600 people with and without a migration background were interviewed about their perceptions of Germany’s integration climate, intercultural openness, the institutional equality of Islam and religious diversity. Both migrants and the native population continue to hold a more favourable opinion of integration than mass media coverage would suggest.
Annual Report 2013
Germany has become a magnet for skilled migrants from the EU. The Expert Council’s 2013 Annual Report looks at how internal EU migration is developing and which opportunities and challenges are associated with it, for example, the migration of low-skilled workers caused by a precarious economic situation in their home countries. In its Annual Report, the Expert Council issues recommendations on how to combine state-of-the-art migration management with improved integration of migrants. In the case of Germany, the Expert Council pinpoints positive migration trends and remaining obstacles in the recognition of foreign credentials and concludes that the German Laender have to ensure that the recognition is standardised as much as possible throughout Germany. Furthermore, the Expert Council recommends the development of a more consistent migration policy through a National Migration Action Plan which covers the immigration of EU citizens as well as the immigration of non-EU nationals.
The Annual Report features data from SVR’s 2013 Migration Barometer. More than 2,200 people with and without a migration background were asked to provide their opinion on freedom of movement within the EU, their identification with Europe and solidarity in Europe.
The Expert Council was invited to present the Annual Report to Germany’s Federal President Joachim Gauck on April 12, 2013.
Annual Report 2012
The Expert Council’s 2012 Annual Report examines how well the federal, Laender and municipal levels cooperate on issues of integration policy. It focuses on areas crucial to integration policy: education, employment and housing. The Expert Council analyses the weaknesses in federal cooperation and develops recommendations for action. The Expert Council recommends, for example, improved coordination, closer cooperation and networking between the federal government, Laender and municipalities and a systematic exchange of promising integration concepts and best practice examples.
As part of the 2012 Annual Report, SVR’s Integration Barometer was conducted for the second time. Over 9,200 people with and without a migration background were interviewed, for the first time including parts of East Germany. The Integration Barometer measures the German public’s opinion on the integration of first and second generation migrants.
Annual Report 2011
The Expert Council’s 2011 Annual Report examines migration trends and German migration policies in an international context. It focuses on three core questions: What types of migration does Germany need? Where will future immigrants come from? How can future immigration management be designed? Based on the low influx of new migrants, especially skilled workers, the Expert Council asserts that additional reforms are necessary, particularly those that promote the immigration of highly skilled professionals. The Expert Council furthermore recommends the development of an effective and sustainable retention policy for international students. In addition, the report examines the possibilities of a stronger link between development and migration policy. Moreover the Expert Council calls for reinforced solidarity among the European states in the admission and assistance of refugees and asylum seekers.
For the first time, the Annual Report includes results from SVR’s Migration Barometer, which captures the attitudes and values of more than 2,450 survey participants on the topics of migration and migration policy.
Annual Report 2010
The Expert Council’s first Annual Report assesses key developments and policy trends in migration and the integration of migrants in Germany. The Expert Council identifies problem areas and calls for the effective reduction of the performance gap in the level of education among migrant youth. In this context, the Expert Council calls for the initiation of a targeted and long overdue education and qualification campaign, the implementation of demand-oriented immigration policies to attract more skilled workers, and an investigation of the reasons for the rise in the emigration of skilled workers.
The assessment and results presented by the Expert Council contradict the oftentimes negative portrayals of the integration process as a ‘failure’, which generally prevail in the German public debate. In everyday social life, integration can be considered a success. This assessment is supported by SVR’s Integration Barometer. The Barometer is a representative survey of over 5,600 individuals which captures the opinions and values of Germany’s population with and without a migration background. Overall, the Integration Barometer finds a “pragmatic optimism towards integration” and a “resilient mutual trust” between immigrants and Germany’s native population.