How is the integration done

Successfully integrating refugees: measures and initiatives

Facilitate access to training and work

The federal government has agreed on numerous measures at national, European and international level to reduce the immigration of people seeking protection without calling into question the fundamental right to asylum. In order for refugees to have better training opportunities and a clear perspective, the law on tolerance for training and employment was passed in mid-2019 after the Integration Act of 2016. On the one hand, both laws promote the integration of people into society and the labor market and, on the other, oblige them to make their own efforts to integrate (“promote and demand”). There are also facilities for companies that want to train and employ refugees. Of particular importance is the so-called 3 + 2 regulation, with which tolerated refugees receive the security of being allowed to stay in Germany for the time of their training and immediately afterwards. This is an important step towards more legal certainty and simplification of procedures for refugees and training companies. The law on tolerance for training and employment clarifies the regulations on tolerance for training, expands them to include helper professions and also creates a secure status for well-integrated tolerated persons with the tolerance for employment. Further information on the 3 + 2 regulation can be found here and on tolerance for employment can be found here.

Welcome guides support companies in integrating refugees into training and work

So-called welcome guides were set up as a measure of the Alliance for Education and Training. The then Federal Minister Sigmar Gabriel and the President of the Central Association of German Crafts, Hans Peter Wollseifer, gave the go-ahead for the program in December 2015. There are currently around 95 welcome guides at 83 chambers and other business organizations nationwide.

The welcome guides help fill vacant training and job positions with refugees. In this context, they advise companies on the legal framework, questions about language support, residence status, qualification requirements, as well as funding and support options. You are available as a contact person for the company even after the vacancy has been successfully filled. The successful program was evaluated in 2018. The guidelines for the welcome guides were revised in the first half of 2019 based on the findings of the evaluation and adapted to the current challenges. On September 11, 2019, the extension of the guideline for a further four years was announced in the Federal Gazette.

In 2019, the welcome guides provided individual advice to around 6,300 companies. During this time, around 2,300 apprenticeship positions and around 760 jobs were filled. There were also around 650 entry-level qualifications in preparation for an apprenticeship position.

Due to the pandemic, the welcome guides used the first half of 2020 to establish new forms of communication with companies and applicants. The integration of refugees in training and work is becoming more topical and relevant in the corona pandemic, as many companies are currently rather reluctant to hire new staff.

NETWORK “Companies integrate refugees”: Over 2500 companies. One network. New ways.

In March 2016 the NETWORK "Companies integrate refugees" was launched by the BMWi and the DIHK. In the meantime, the NETWORK is Germany's largest association of companies that are committed to the employment of refugees. The NETWORK has over 2,500 member companies nationwide, the majority of which are small and medium-sized companies.

From nationwide events to webinars to publications with current and practice-relevant information - the NETWORK offers its members a variety of opportunities to benefit from the following offers:

  • Know-how on legal issues, funding opportunities and contact persons
  • Practical tips for integrating refugees into training and employment
  • Exchange of experience and cooperation as well as good examples from everyday operational life
  • Visibility of corporate engagement at events and in the press

According to a brief survey of members, more than 5,100 jobs were created in the NETWORK in 2019, including more than 1,000 apprenticeships and entry-level qualifications:

The NETZWERK works both at federal and regional level with various actors and committed IHKs and HWKs. Membership and use of all offers is free.

Competence center securing skilled workers: "How to successfully integrate refugees"

The Competence Center Securing Skilled Workers (KOFA) offers small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) comprehensive information on securing skilled workers. The integration of refugees in the company also plays an important role. Under the motto "Integrate refugees, attract skilled workers", the KOFA provides all interested companies with a comprehensive dossier with guides, recommendations for action, videos and practical examples. A representative survey on the involvement of companies in the integration of refugees, which the KOFA published in September 2020, showed that integration is becoming increasingly sustainable. The proportion of refugees in regular employment has increased by more than 50 percent since 2017, and one in ten companies is now training refugees as part of dual training. The study is available on the website of the Competence Center for Securing Skilled Workers.

Integration: More refugees in training and employment

Almost every fourth company in Germany employs refugees. That is 429,000 companies, around 18,000 more than three years ago. At the same time, the proportion of refugees in regular employment rose by more than 50 percent, while the number of internships fell. Every tenth company is now training refugees as part of dual training. The integration is therefore becoming increasingly sustainable. However, a lack of knowledge of German is still the main obstacle to hiring and the central challenge in everyday working life. This is confirmed by a new representative study by the Competence Center Securing Skilled Workers (KOFA) at the Institute of German Economy (IW).

BQ-Portal: The information portal for foreign professional qualifications

In addition, with the bq portal sponsored by the BMWi, companies can access Germany's most extensive knowledge and work platform on foreign professional qualifications. The portal offers descriptions of 96 vocational training systems worldwide and almost 4,200 foreign professional profiles, which help to better assess the qualifications of applicants. With the help of our country profiles, interested parties can get an initial overview of the respective refugee countries of origin: There is information on the level of education, immigration to and integration in Germany and Europe, the most important characteristics of the respective vocational training systems and experience reports on the labor market integration of refugees as part of the recognition process.

Alliance for training and further education: bundled competence

As early as autumn 2015, the partners of the Alliance for Education and Training (representatives of the Federal Government, the Federal Employment Agency, the business associations BDA, BFB, DIHK and ZDH, from trade unions and federal states) took central steps to integrate refugees into training and work communicated. With the new declaration signed on August 26, 2019, the alliance partners have agreed on key areas of action and specific measures in order to bring as many people as possible to a qualified professional qualification. The alliance partners see great integration potential for refugees in the practical, dual training as well as a potential for skilled workers that needs to be eliminated for companies. The alliance partners therefore continue to advocate a nationwide uniform, integration-friendly application of the 3 + 2 rule, which creates legal security for companies and their trainees with a refugee background. In terms of labor market policy, the alliance considers the opening of training grants to be sensible for all refugees who are completing training and need support. The alliance is also committed to improving the language skills of refugees. Allianz will pool experience in training refugees in order to improve their participation in training in the long term, from preparation to qualification. The federal government supports the placement in training among other things through the program “welcome guides” (see above). Further information is available on the website of the Alliance for Education and Training.

Model project "Together in training"

From November 2016 to the end of 2018, the BMWi funded the model project “Together in training”. Refugees and German young people were prepared here together for training in the handicraft (for example, through vocational training, language courses and internships) precisely matched to a handicraft company and supported in the first year of training. Since 2019, as part of follow-up funding, the young people and the training companies have been providing further training support up to the acquisition of the training qualification at the project locations in Duisburg and Recklinghausen Contribute to overcoming the shortage of skilled workers in skilled trades. The accompanying scientific research by the Rhine-Ruhr Institute for Social Research and Policy Advice (RISP GmbH) confirms that the tried and tested approach can become a successful model for the integration of refugees and other target groups with entry barriers. The conditions for success identified as part of the model project offer interesting starting points for transferring the GidA model (PDF, 1 MB) to other industries, target groups and regions.

Information and support for helpers in Germany

In 2015 and 2016, more than 1.2 million refugees came to Germany. The integration of the people who will stay with us in the long term can only succeed with the support of the many volunteer helpers.

How is Germany helping in the refugee crisis? What do we do against the causes of flight? And how does Europe help? The Federal Government offers a comprehensive range of information on a wide range of issues and topics on the "Migration and Integration" page.