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IMMIGRATION

Refugees integrating ‘faster than expected’ into Germany’s labour market

According to experts, the integration of refugees into the workforce in Germany is progressing quickly.

Refugees integrating 'faster than expected' into Germany’s labour market
Refugees working at the Siemens plant in Leipzig. Photo: DPA

The Institute for Employment Research (IAB) has revealed that around 400,000 refugees have jobs in Germany – something which researcher Herbert Brücker, of the IAB, says has exceeded expectations.

As part of the research, Brücker compared the integration of the recent influx of refugees to those fleeing the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s.

He said the IAB was “quite satisfied” with the numbers, especially since the starting conditions for refugees in 2015 were “particularly difficult”, in part because German is harder to learn for those coming from an Arabic-speaking background.

Currently about 36 percent of refugees between the ages of 15 and 64 are in the workforce or employed, which equals about 380,000 to 400,000 people, said Brücker, who heads the Migration, Integration and International Labour Market Research Department at IAB.

“I expect that in autumn about 40 percent of refugees of working age will be employed,” Brücker told the Editorial Network Germany. 

“This would make integration into the labour market about a year quicker than we had noticed with earlier refugee movements to Germany”.

READ ALSO: 'Germany's future depends on immigration and integration': Merkel

However, it should be noted that many refugees are employed as temporary workers with relatively low wages. “In addition, there is a high proportion of refugees in the gastronomy, security, cleaning, construction and care sectors,” said Brücker.

About 50 percent of refugees with jobs are employed as skilled workers, Brücker reported. 

“This is a surprisingly high figure when you consider that only every fifth refugee has completed a vocational qualification or a university degree before they fled their country,” he said.

About eight percent of the refugees are in jobs classified as 'specialist' such as doctors, according to researchers.

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GERMAN CITIZENSHIP

TEST: Could you pass the German citizenship exam?

Obtaining German citizenship involves clearing numerous hurdles - including a multiple-choice citizenship test that will quiz you on your knowledge of German history, culture, geography and politics. Could you pass it?

TEST: Could you pass the German citizenship exam?

The German passport is one of the most powerful in the world – but getting your hands on one is no mean feat. 

Alongside strict residency and language requirements, people who want to become a naturalised German citizenship will have to sit an exam known as the Einbürgerungstest (Citizenship Test).

The exam is designed to ensure that migrants understand important aspects of Germany’s political system, like the rights enshrined in the constitution, and can deal with aspects of day to day life and culture in the Bundesrepublik.

READ ALSO: TEST: Is your German good enough for citizenship or permanent residency?

Additionally, there are usually questions on important milestones in German history such as the Second World War and the GDR, and you may encounter some geography questions and questions on the European Union as well. 

The test is in German and consists of 33 questions: 30 questions on Germany in general, and three related to the specific federal state you live in. 

It’s all in German, so people sitting the exam need to be fairly confident with their reading skills – but since it’s multiple choice, writing skills thankfully aren’t required. 

Though this may sound daunting, people are given a full hour to complete the test – and, anecdotally, most tend to finish much more quickly than that. You also only need to score 17 out of 33 (so just over 50 percent) to pass.

In addition, there are only a set number of questions that the Citizenship Test alternates between. You can find a list of all of them (in German) here, and also take a German-language practice test here.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How I got German citizenship – and how you can too

If you’d like to test your knowledge in English, however, we’ve put together a representative list of 16 questions to get you started. Viel Glück! (Good luck!) 

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