Is the integration of refugees in the German labor market a successful integration?

Term Paper, 2018

20 Pages, Grade: 2,0


Table of content

1. Introduction

2. Definitions

3. Chances of integration into the German labor market
3.1 Current labor market situation
3.2 Demographic Change

4. Access to German labor market
4.1 Legal framework
4.2 Legal requirements

5. The need for change

6. Conclusion

7. References

8. Table of figures


The current issue of the high wave of refugees in Germany requires, among other things, the need for a successful integration of refugees into the German labor market, because therefore they should bring opportunities. One of Germany's main problems, the negative development of demographic change, can be covered by doing so. However, this process is slowed down by too restrictive and complicated admission procedures and gaps in the integration concepts for refugees. Ultimately, the potential of the refugees should be able to be fully used for the labor market. According to that, the urge for a change in the German refugee policy is required.

1. Introduction

“By the end of 2016, 65.6 million individuals were forcibly displaced worldwide as a result of persecution, conflict, violence, or human rights violations. That was an increase of 300,000 people over the previous year, and the world’s forcibly displaced population remained at a record high.”[1]

This headliner of the actual report “Global trends – forced displacement in 2016” by the Un Refugee Agency (UNHCR) clarifies the enormous extent of the current refugee crisis. To strengthen this headliner and confirm this huge amount, the number is divided into subcategories. Thus 10 million people were estimated as stateless or at risk of stateless in 2016. During the same year, also 10,3 million people were newly displaced by conflict or persecution.[2]

The federal agency of work titles this refugee migration as one of the main reasons for the increasing influence of migration on the German labor market. Due to numerous new migrations, the labor supply in Germany is increasing. On the one hand, this can lead to more employment, but strictly speaking, also to higher unemployment. Thus, Germany is, apart from social and cultural novelty, also facing a changing economy.[3] By taking the number of asylum claims into consideration, Germany was the world’s largest recipient of new individual applications in 2016 with an amount of 722.400 initial claims. In addition, the refugee population in Germany increased considerably with 669.500 refugees in 2016, from which 375.100 refugees came from Syria.[4]

This big challenge has to be mastered. The resulting research question is: Is the integration of refugees in the German labor market a successful integration?

To answer this question, this research paper firstly differentiates the term “refugee” from those of migrants, emigrants and immigrants, since that understanding is essential for the clarification of the following chapters. Moreover, the process of the integration into the German labor market is taken into account, and additionally go hand in hand with demographic data, since especially the demographics show an interesting trend. Finally, the access to the German labor market including legal frameworks and requirements should give a clear understand of the legal basis. Afterwards, on the basis of the previous finding, the need for change will be clarified. All in all, a short conclusion should summarize the main finding of this papers on the one hand and serve for the future research on these developments on the other hand. Thus, the aim of this paper is to clarify, whether the integration of refugees on the German labor market can be seen as a successful potential.

2. Definitions

The following definition section is intended to clarify a fundamental misunderstanding in society. The terms “refugee” and “migrant” are often associated and tempted to be confused. In fact, it is very important to distinguish these components from each other, since they are fundamentally different. Likewise, the terms “immigrant” and “emigrant” invite for confusion. Therefore, it is of enormous importance for the understanding of this paper to distinguish all this from each other.


In short, refugees are people who leave their state because of the fear of persecution due to the heterogeneity of race, religion or political beliefs. Also referred to as refugees are the people who leave their state due to political decisions. More specially and on legal basis of the Geneva Refugee Convention of 1951, a refugee is a person “born of events that occurred before January 1st, 1951, and because of the well-founded fear of persecution because of their race, religion, nationality or belonging to one certain social group or because of their political convictions, they are outside the country of which they are nationals and cannot claim the protection of the country or because of this fear they do not wish to avail themselves.[5]

In addition, most of the refugees in the German context nowadays are asylum seekers. The term “asylum” originally comes from the Greek word “asylon” and refers to the word accommodation. Generally, it can be said that persecuted persons have the right to personal protection.[6] This is on the one hand stipulated in Article 33 of the Geneva Refugee Convention, but can be also found in Article 16 of the Basic Law where it says: “Politically persecuted enjoy asylum”. Important to mention is the fact, that this Article has been corrected and exacerbated in 1993 and says now: “whoever comes from a Member State of the European community or from a third State, which ensure the application of the Convention on the Status of refugees and the convention for the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms”.[7]

Migrants, Immigrants and Emigrants

Generally, it can be said that every refugee is also a migrant, immigrant or emigrant. He is to be subordinated as a person of this group of people. Migration therefore refers to the change of the home country beyond international borders.[8] In addition, migration is a voluntary shift from one state to another. The word “voluntary” plays therefore a very important role in this differentiation. Thus, migrants can be considered as general immigrants who follow family members to another state or immigrate as workers to other countries.[9] A Syrian refugee is then for example an immigrant in the Federal Republic, and an emigrant from the perspective of his homeland.


The concept of Integration has come to the fore in recent years in the minds of German society. Due to the ongoing refugee crisis, it is usually associated with this group of people.[10] Originally, the term “integration” comes from the Latin word “integration”, which means nothing else than “incorporate something into a whole”.[11] Moreover, integration can have many facets. Therefore, it has to be distinguished which groups need a certain degree of integration into society. Generally, it can be said that this degree can be defined between different groups of people. These groups of people therefore include, for example, people with disabilities or mental health problems, as well as migrants, or even refugees.[12] In this case, various components such as occupational activity or German language skills are chosen as factors to be examined.[13] Various aid organizations and associations then offer courses or consultations to enable holistic, successful integration.[14]

3. Chances of integration into the German labor market


[1] Comp. UNHCR (2017) p. 2

[2] Comp. UNHCR (2017) p. 2f

[3] Comp. Bundesagentur für Arbeit (2018) p. 4

[4] Comp. UNHCR (2017) p. 15

[5] Comp. UNHCR (2015) p. 6

[6] Comp. Dreher, M. (2003) p. 339

[7] Comp. Deutscher Bundestag (2018) n.p

[8] Comp. Statistisches Bundesamt (2014) p. 5

[9] Comp. Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung (2017) p. 1

[10] Comp. Santel, B. (2007) p. 20

[11] Comp. Informations- und Dokumentationszentrum für Antirassismusarbeit e.V. (2016) p. 2

[12] Comp. Informations- und Dokumentationszentrum für Antirassismusarbeit e.V. (2016) p. 3

[13] Comp. Informations- und Dokumentationszentrum für Antirassismusarbeit e.V. (2016) p. 3

[14] Comp. Informations- und Dokumentationszentrum für Antirassismusarbeit e.V. (2016) p. 6

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Is the integration of refugees in the German labor market a successful integration?
Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences
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Cara Gröntgen (Author), 2018, Is the integration of refugees in the German labor market a successful integration?, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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