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IMMIGRATION

Refugees will struggle to find jobs, bank warns

Many of the refugees arriving in Germany could initially find it difficult to get a job because of their young age and lack of qualifications, the German central bank or Bundesbank said on Monday.

Refugees will struggle to find jobs, bank warns
Refugees in Hesse. Photo: DPA

The Bundesbank estimated that the net immigration of asylum seekers — ie. the number of inflows minus outflows — could total over one and half million between 2015 and 2017.

Of these, “the share of non-employed persons will probably remain comparatively high for the time being as many newcomers will first need to acquire German language skills and other qualifications,” the central bank wrote in its monthly report.

Germany, the EU's biggest economy, this year looks set to take in one million people fleeing war and misery in what the government has said is its biggest challenge at least since national reunification a quarter-century ago.

Germany will take in more refugees than any other country in Europe, but many people are worried about the economic consequences of doing so.

The Bundesbank said that, initially, the rate of participation of the new arrivals into the labour force would be “just under 50 percent.”

That was “well below” the average for the general population, roughly three-quarters of which is in the workforce.

The aggregate labour supply was projected to grow by around 520,000 persons – or one and a quarter percent – in cumulative terms until the end of 2017, the Bundesbank said.

But, “the results of empirical studies suggest that this additional pool of labour will initially push up unemployment owing to low or irrelevant skills as well as cultural and linguistic barriers, with refugees only gradually gaining a foothold in the labour market,” the Bundesbank said.

According to the IAB Institute for Employment Research, the level of unemployment among foreigners from war-torn and crisis-stricken countries, many of whom were likely to have entered Germany only recently, “stands at around 40 percent,” the report said.

“Despite the currently favourable labour market situation, the projection assumes an unemployment rate of 70 percent in the first 12 months following recognition as a refugee, falling to a still sizeable 40 percent in the third year.”

This translated into an employment rate of around 15 percent in the first year following the granting of refugee status, rising to roughly one-third after three years, the Bundesbank said.

Turning to the general economic effect of refugee immigration, the Bundesbank estimated it could help boost domestic demand.

“The supply effects and the long-term impact on public finances will largely hinge on how quickly and effectively refugees are integrated into the labour market,” the central bank said.

“In the short run, the effects are likely to be comparatively modest due to the presumed low initial participation rate and high unemployment among these refugees, and their integration will remain a major challenge for some time to come,” it concluded.

 
For members

BREXIT

EXPLAINED: How can Brits visit or move to Germany post-Brexit?

Many Brits may be considering spending time in Germany or even moving for work or to study. Here's a look at the rules.

EXPLAINED: How can Brits visit or move to Germany post-Brexit?

The Brexit transition period ended on January 1st 2021, but it’s been a turbulent few years with Covid-related restrictions, which mean many people may not have travelled abroad since then. Here’s what you should know about the rules for travelling and moving to Germany post-Brexit. 

Can I visit Germany from the UK on holiday?

Absolutely. But you do have to stick to certain rules on how long you can stay in Germany (and other EU countries) without a visa.

“British citizens do not require a visa for the Schengen Member States, if the duration of their stay does not exceed 90 days within any 180-day period,” says the German Missions consular service in the UK. 

You can find a full explanation of the 90-day rule from our sister site, The Local France, HERE, along with the Schengen calculator that allows you to work out your allowance.

READ ALSO: Passport scans and €7 fees: What will change for EU travel in 2022 and 2023

Note that if you were living in Germany before January 1st 2021, different rules apply. People in this scenario should have received a residence permit – known as the Aufenthaltstitel-GB – from the German authorities, which proves their right to remain in Germany with the same rights as they had before Brexit. 

READ ALSO: Reader question: How can I re-enter Germany without my post-Brexit residence card?

Can I move to Germany from the UK after the Brexit transition period?

Yes. But if you are coming to Germany to live and work, you will need to apply for the right documents, like other so-called ‘third country nationals’. All foreigners from outside the EU who want to to stay in Germany for more than three months have to get a residence permit (Aufenthaltstitel). 

As we touched on above, citizens from some countries (including the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, Japan, Israel, New Zealand and Switzerland) are allowed entry into Germany without a visa and can apply for a residence permit while in the country. You can contact the Foreigners Office (Ausländerbehörde) in your area to find out how to get a residence permit.

You’ll need various official documents, such as a valid passport, proof of health insurance and proof that you can support yourself. You usually receive your residence permit as a sticker in your passport.

Passengers wait at Hamburg airport.

Passengers at Hamburg airport. Brits coming to Germany have more things to consider after Brexit. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Markus Scholz

Germany has a well-documented skilled worker shortage at the moment so there are work permit options to consider that may suit your circumstances. 

For the work visa for qualified professionals, for instance, your qualifications have to be either recognised in Germany or comparable to those from a German higher education facility. 

You may also be able to get an EU Blue Card. This residence permit is aimed at attracting and enabling highly qualified third-country nationals to live in the EU. 

It comes with benefits, including the right to to request and bring family members to the country, and shortcuts for applying for permanent residency. 

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How German citizenship differs from permanent residency

When applying for a Blue Card in Germany this year, you have to earn a minimum gross salary (before tax) of €56,400 – down from €56,800 in 2021. 

In so-called shortage occupations (Mangelberufe), where there is a high number of unfilled positions, the minimum gross salary is €43,992 – down from €44,304 in 2021.

Shortage occupations include employees in the sectors of mathematics, IT, natural sciences, engineering and medicine.

If you want to come to Germany from the UK to study then you also need to apply for a visa. For this you may need proof of acceptance to the university or higher education institution of your choice and possibly proof of your German language skills.

Check out the useful government website Make it in Germany for more detailed information, as well as the German Missions in the UK site, which has lots of info on travel after Brexit, and on visas.  

What else should I know?

The German government plans to reform the immigration system, although it’s not clear at this stage when this will happen. 

It will move to a points-based system, inspired by countries like Canada, where foreigners will have to score above a certain threshold of points to get a residence or work permit.

This scoring system will be set by the government, but it will include factors like language skills, family connections to the country, specific qualifications or work-related skills, or the amount of money in your bank account.

Keep an eye on The Local’s home page for updates on the changes to immigration laws. 

Have you moved to Germany – or are thinking about moving – after the Brexit transition period and want to share your experiences? Please get in touch by emailing [email protected] 

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