"Many people who come to us fleeing war and displacement will stay for a long time, maybe for ever," Ingo Kramer, president of the National Union of Employers' Federations, said.
"It's in everyone's interest to do everything so that these people can integrate quickly into the labour market."
He was joined in his call by Eric Schweitzer, president of the German Chambers of Commerce and Industry, who said that "asylum seekers with prospects of staying, and people with humanitarian leave to remain, who are entering education should be able to finish that without worrying about being expelled".
He added that people with side jobs to pay for their training or studies should have no fear of falling foul of the law.
Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet state leaders in Berlin on Thursday for a special conference on refugee policy.
Last week the federal government agreed to double cash handouts to the states this year to cover the administrative and accommodation costs of taking on new refugees.
But the authorities expect around 450,000 people to arrive in Germany seeking asylum this year.
The industry leaders said those people shouldn't simply be put up and fed, but encouraged in their ambitions.
"Many young people who come to Germany as under-aged refugees are not only ready, but especially motivated to complete their education," Kramer said.
He argued that such people shouldn't be held in limbo while waiting for an asylum decision.
"At one and the same time there are many businesses desperately seeking young people for vocational training," he added.
Both Kramer and Schweitzer agreed that the asylum process should be sped up, if necessary by the government giving job centres more resources.
One of the biggest hurdles to asylum seekers finding work, Schweitzer said, was the language barrier.
"Asylum seekers with good chances of staying should have access to language courses as quickly as possible," he said.