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OECD praises labour market integration of refugees

In an OECD report, Germany scores well in the integration of refugees into the labor market. However, there is a need for action for migrants who have only primary school education at most.

The OECD, the organization of industrialized countries, gives Germany a relatively good report card when it comes to integrating refugees into the labor market. “In 2022, Germany's employment rate reached a record high of 70 percent, significantly higher than in most other comparable EU countries,” the OECD said.

The investment in integration has clearly paid off, the report says. “The differences in living conditions are often smaller than in other countries, and the employment rates of immigrants are high compared to other countries.” In addition, almost two thirds of immigrants who have lived here for at least five years speak fluent German. Germany stands out in a positive way in this regard, especially in comparison to other countries: “The language skills of immigrants have improved more in Germany than in most other EU countries.”

“Education system not geared towards this”

Every euro in this area is money well invested, said the Federal Government's Commissioner for Integration, Reem Alabali-Radovan. “Integration in Germany works much better than its reputation suggests.” Nevertheless, there is still a lot to be done. “Our education system is not yet geared to the immigration society that we have long become.”

Above all, children born in Germany to immigrant parents are already benefiting greatly from the education system: their level of education is above that in most comparable countries, according to the OECD. Regardless of age, the results are worse than in comparable countries if children born abroad do not come to Germany until they are of school age. No progress has been made here.

Need for action among migrants with low education

According to the OECD study, there is also a need for action among immigrant women with small children, most recently often from Ukraine. They are less well integrated into the labor market than elsewhere. Since Russia's invasion, around a million people have fled from Ukraine to Germany. Despite a high level of education, however, only one in five of the immigrants of prime working age has a job. This is evident from the preliminary results of the migration statistics and preliminary results of the microcensus published by the Federal Statistical Office.

In the political debate on the subject, there are also repeated complaints that too few asylum seekers find a job and are instead dependent on state benefits. According to the OECD, this is particularly the case when migrants have no more than a primary school education. “This group makes up more than a sixth of the immigrant population, and their share has increased over the last ten years.” Only half of this group is employed. And only a quarter achieve advanced German language skills after five years of residence.

Markus Schubert, ARD Berlin, tagesschau, 04.07.2024 15:27

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