Germany integrating migrants quickly, according to business chief

Many among the more than one million people who arrived in Germany as migrants or refugees since 2015 are integrating speedily through work, the head of a key business group said Friday.

Germany integrating migrants quickly, according to business chief
The picture shows a metal worker. Photo: DPA.

“Today more than 400,000 are in employment or training… even I am surprised at how quickly it's progressing,” Ingo Kramer, head of the Confederation of German Employers' Associations (BDA), told the Augsburger Allgemeine newspaper.

“The vast majority are in jobs subject to social security contributions, and that integrates them into society,” he added. “Business leaders are getting it done.”

Kramer's optimistic tone matches that from the Federal Labour Agency (BA), which counts 30,000 young refugees currently in training.

But some 177,000 refugees were still registered as unemployed in November.

SEE ALSO: How Germany plans to fight worker shortage with new immigration law

German Chancellor Angela Merkel chose in late summer 2015 not to close Germany's borders to hundreds of thousands of people fleeing the Middle East and Africa.

The decision stoked support for the anti-immigration populist party Alternative for Germany (AfD), ultimately ushering a potent far-right political force into parliament for the first time since 1945 and weakening Merkel.

While the veteran leader stopped using the phrase “we can manage it” to reassure her people soon after the mass arrivals, Kramer said that “Merkel was right to believe that”.

Businesses in Germany are desperate for new workers, as with economic recovery the headline unemployment rate has sunk over the years to 5.0 percent, making available skilled labour increasingly scarce.

“Most young migrants can speak German so well after one year of study that they can follow classes in a vocational school,” Kramer said.

That was good news for “Mittelstand” small- and medium-sized firms — often hailed as the backbone of the German economy — in their search for employees, he added.

“We shouldn't be afraid of migration but see people who come to us and work here as an enrichment” Kramer said.

Like other bosses, Kramer complained about frequent deportations of workers or trainees who arrived as refugees.

Merkel's conservatives have pushed through tougher immigration laws since 2015 in a bid to make up ground lost to the AfD.

Meanwhile, the German Institute for Human Rights highlighted in its annual report this month that foreigners are often underpaid, hired without formal contracts or pushed to work overtime with no pay.

Member comments

  1. not a well cited article. This article is too ambiguous. Author of the article, are you listening? It says ‘400,000 are in employment or training’ and another source says 30,000 are in training. It doesn’t give a holistic picture that out of the 1.2 million refugees, how many are employable, how many are employed and those under training. Seems like a propaganda news to make things look all hunky & dory!

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What to do if you lose your residence permit in Germany

Third-country nationals with the right to live and work in Germany are generally issued a residence permit in their passport or in the form of an ID card. But what do you if you happen to lose this vital document - or if it gets stolen? Here's a step-by-step guide.

What to do if you lose your residence permit in Germany

Losing an important document can be a nightmare scenario for foreigners in Germany – especially if it’s the one you rely on to live and work in the country. So if you search for your residence permit one day and suddenly realise it’s missing, you may feel the urge to panic. 

Luckily, there’s a process to follow to get a replacement and ensure nobody else can misuse your residence permit in the meantime. This being Germany, it may take a little time, but rest assured you will be able to replace the document. 

Here’s what you need to know. 

Different types of permit

If you’re a non-EU national in Germany, you’re likely to have one of two documents proving your rights and status in the country: 

  • a residence permit that’s placed on a page in your passport (Zusatzblatt zum Aufenthaltstitel), or
  • an electronic ID, or eID, card (electronischer Aufenthaltstitel) for permanent residents. 

Some third-country nationals who’ve been in Germany for less than five years on a visa will have their residence permit in their passport, while others will have been issued an eID card. Permanent residents will generally have an eID card. 

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How to prove you’re a resident in Germany

Brits who lived in Germany before the Brexit cut-off date are likely to have a special type of electronic ID card known as an Aufenthaltstitel-GB. This looks pretty similar to a permanent residence card and basically signifies that the holder is entitled to the same rights as EU citizens living in Germany. 

You’ll need to do things slightly differently depending on which type of residence permit you have, so we’ll cover each in turn. 

In either case, if you suspect you’ve been a victim of theft, it’s a good idea to file a police report so they can be on the lookout for any potential fraud. 

What to do you if you lose your electronic ID card

1. Call the cancellation hotline 

If you’ve mislaid your eID card or it’s been stolen, the first thing to do is call up a national hotline on 01801 33 33 33 and put a block on the card.

To do this, you’ll need to have your Sperrkennwort (blocking passport) handy. The way you’ll have received this can differ from state to state, but usually it is sent out in a letter along with the PIN and PUK for your electronic ID card around the time that the eID was issued. 

This will block anyone from using your eID function. If you find your card again, you can unblock it by visiting the Ausländerbehörde. 

If you haven’t activated the eID function or happen to have mislaid your blocking password as well, then move straight to the second step below. 

READ ALSO: What is Germany’s electronic ID card and how do you use it?

2. Get in touch with the Ausländerbehörde (Foreigner’s Office)

Once you’ve put a block on your card, you’ll need to get in touch with the Ausländerbehörde to let them know what’s happened and arrange a replacement card.

You can do this via email or telephone but may also have to book an in-person appointment if they need to see certain documents for issuing the replacement. If you need to block the eID function and don’t have your Sperrkennwort, you’ll need to take your passport to the Ausländerbehörde to do this.

Bear in mind that you won’t get your new ID card straight away. Depending on the state, it can take a up to three months to be issued. You’ll also need to pay a fee for the replacement card, which can vary from state to state and is normally paid with cash or EC card at the Ausländerbehörde. 

Also, once an order for a new card has been sent off, you’ll no longer be able to reactivate your old card should you find it again. 

Ausländerbehörde Berlin

People go in and out of the Ausländerbehörde in Berlin. Photo: picture alliance / Kay Nietfeld/dpa | Kay Nietfeld

What to do if you lose your passport and visa 

1. Order a new passport 

It probably goes without saying, but if you lose your passport with your residence permit in it, the first thing you’ll need to do is get hold of a new passport. This should be done via the government of your home country. 

2. Book an appointment at the Ausländerbehörde

Once you’ve got your new passport, make an appointment at the Ausländerbehörde to get a replacement printed out. If you’re unsure what documentation to bring with you to the appointment, check on their website or send them an email beforehand.

Once again, you’ll need to pay a fee for the replacement, which is normally done on-site with cash or an EC card. 

What if I’m travelling out of the country soon? 

If you’re leaving Germany and don’t have time to get a replacement eID card or residence permit, contact the Ausländerbehörde straight away. They should be able to assist you with emergency proof of residence, which is normally done in the form of a Fiktionsbescheinigung (a certificate confirming your status and rights before the official proof has been issued).

Obviously, if you’ve lost your passport, your first port of call will be your home country’s embassy, who can normally issue emergency travel documents within a matter of days. 

For Brits covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, bringing other proof of residence in Germany such as your registration (Anmeldung) with you or a work contract should suffice to avoid getting a stamp in your passport when you re-enter. But even if you do, it won’t affect your rights.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that there are no hard borders in Schengen, so if you’re travelling around the EU, you’ll generally be fine without your visa. 

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