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  • Two women and a man sit in front of computer monitors.

    Refugee employment rates are on the rise

    The integration of refugees into the labor market is regularly examined using data from “Living in Germany”. A recent study took a closer look at people who came to Germany between 2013 and 2020. The result: by 2020, the proportion of people in employment had risen significantly – to 55% for men and 17% for women.

    In addition, the proportion of those working as skilled workers increased, while the proportion of employees in unskilled jobs stagnated on average after three years. Increasingly, refugees are joining their company as skilled workers or switching to employment as skilled workers.

    However, there are still major differences between the sexes. Refugee women still perform much more unpaid care work than men, which inhibits their entry into the labor market and their chances of advancement. In addition to childcare and housework, care work also includes repairs and errands. Researchers found that if both partners in a couple with a refugee background are employed, the division of care work is more equitable. The so-called “gender care gap” (i.e., the gap in care work) is smallest when the woman has a higher professional position than the man. It is also smaller if the woman works at least as many hours as her partner. “Employment is the engine of equality,” stresses Prof. Dr. Cornelia Kristen, researcher in the research area of migration and integration at the Socio-economic Panel and professor at the University of Bamberg.

    Further information

    DIW Berlin (Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung): Geflüchtete in Deutschland immer häufiger erwerbstätig – auch als Fachkräfte

    SPIEGEL Online: Immer mehr Geflüchtete arbeiten

    Süddeutsche Zeitung: Viele Unternehmen erkennen oft nicht die Fähigkeiten, die zugewanderte Menschen mitbringen (for subscribers)

    All results in the overview

    Foto by Arlington Research on Unsplash

  • zwei Migrantinnen sitzen an einem Tisch mit Stift und Papier und lachen

    Improved employment prospects

    Refugee women have a much harder time on the German labor market than refugee men – although their chances have improved over the years. This is shown by a new evaluation of the study “Living in Germany,” for which protection seekers who arrived in Germany between 2013 and 2019 were surveyed.

    According to the study, the employment of refugee women has increased but remains low compared to men. While five percent of working-age women surveyed reported having a job in 2017, nearly 13 percent did so in 2020. “Women are slowed down by several factors,” says SOEP migration expert Adriana Cardozo, who analyzed the data. For example, they lack education and language skills. And traditional gender roles also played a role.

    Encouragingly, however, the number of young women participating in educational programs has more than tripled over the years. The number of women with intermediate and good language skills is also growing steadily.

    “Women with refugee experience can make a contribution to compensating for the labor shortage in Germany,” emphasizes Adriana Cardozo. The expansion of integration and language programs is a prerequisite, she said. These should be even better tailored to the needs of women, for example by offering childcare options.

    Further information

    Handelsblatt: Untersuchung: Fortschritte bei Arbeitsmarkt-Chancen geflüchteter Frauen

    DIW Berlin (Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung): Employment opportunities of refugee women in Germany are improving despite starting at a disadvantage

    All results in the overview

  • Menschen mit verschiedenen Hautfarben tragen eine Maske

    Migration and Covid-19

    By the end of October 2021, more than four million people in Germany had been infected with Corona. In order to be able to investigate possible differences in infections and vaccinations between people with and without migration experience, the antibody study “Corona Monitoring bundesweit” (RKI-SOEP-2) was conducted. All participants of the survey “Living in Germany” 2021 were invited to participate in the antibody study.

    At the time of the survey in October 2021, most of the people in Germany had already come into contact with the spike protein of the Corona virus at least twice through vaccinations and/or infections, i.e. were already immunized. The proportion of those who had already come into contact with the virus at least twice was higher among persons without migration experience than among persons with migration experience (90 versus 82 percent). This difference is due to the higher vaccination rate among persons without migration experience. In addition, persons with migration experience had already contracted Corona twice as often as persons without migration experience (8 versus 4 percent).

    In their research report, the two researchers Dr. Manuel Siegert (BAMF-FZ) and Laura Goßner (IAB) show that the difference in the frequency of infection is not due to the migration experience per se, but to the different life circumstances, such as the residential, professional and family situation. For this reason, the researchers recommend that the respective living conditions of the group of people to be protected be taken into account when adopting protective measures and health campaigns.

    The RKI-SOEP-2 study was conducted jointly by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) at the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin), the Research Center of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF-FZ) and the Institute for Employment Research (IAB).

    Further information

    Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge (BAMF): Studie zum Infektionsrisiko für COVID-19-Erkrankungen

    All results in the overview

  • Zwei Mädchen halten eine ukrainische Flagge ans Fenster

    One year after the start of the war: How are the refugees from Ukraine doing?

    How are the Ukrainians who have fled to Germany since the war began? A representative survey conducted as part of “Living in Germany” provides answers. According to the survey, it is mainly younger women and mothers with children and young people who have found protection in Germany. Most refugees have a high level of education: 72% of adults have a tertiary, mostly academic, education. 17 percent are in employment. And a high proportion (nearly 80 percent) plan to take up gainful employment in Germany.

    The researchers see these developments as a positive sign. Nevertheless, major challenges remain. For example, they say, mental well-being, especially among children and adolescents, is lower compared to other age peers in Germany. “We need to provide Ukrainian refugees with sufficient psychosocial counseling and care,” says Sabine Zinn, vice director of SOEP. The survey is a joint project of the Institute for Employment Research (IAB), the Federal Institute for Population Research (BiB), the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF-FZ) and the Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) at DIW Berlin.

    Further information

    DIW Berlin: Wie es den Geflüchteten aus der Ukraine in Deutschland geht

    All results in the overview

  • Schöne brünette Frau in einem Hundezahnkaromantel an einem regnerischen Tag zu Fuß durch die Stadt

    Refugees from Ukraine feel welcome in Germany

    Since February 24, 2022, more than one million people from Ukraine have fled to Germany alone. Many of them are now actively participating in life in this country. This is shown by the first representative survey on the living situation of Ukrainians who have fled to Germany, which was conducted as part of the “Living in Germany” study. According to the survey, 17 percent of the refugees are already employed, half are attending a language course and 60 percent live in their own apartment. The refugee children attend schools and some also daycare centers. While most Ukrainian refugees plan to stay in Germany only temporarily, a quarter would like to live here permanently.

    The vast majority of respondents (76 percent) felt “fully” or “mostly” welcome in Germany upon arrival. Their intentions to stay, on the other hand, vary widely: 34 percent want to leave Germany after the war ends, 26 percent want to stay in Germany forever, 13 percent want to stay for several years or less, and 27 percent cannot yet make a statement. “Many refugees are currently still unsure whether they want to live permanently in Germany,” says Prof. Dr. Sabine Zinn, vice director of SOEP, who worked on the study. “However, we assume that the number of those who want to stay will increase if the war continues for a long time.”

    The survey is a joint project of the Institute for Employment Research (IAB), the Federal Institute for Population Research (BiB), the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF-FZ) and the Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) at DIW Berlin.

    Further information

    ZEIT Online: Jeder vierte Ukraine-Flüchtling will dauerhaft in Deutschland bleiben

    Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung: Die meisten fühlen sich willkommen

    DIW Berlin (Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung): Ukrainian refugees in Germany: Fleeing, arriving and living

    All results in the overview

  • Zwei junge Männer unterhalten sich

    Good language skills also depend on the personality

    Refugees often don’t have an easy start to their new lives – partly because they lack language skills. How well and quickly they can acquire the language of their new home also depends on their personality. This is shown by data from the study “Living in Germany,” which Yuliya Kosyakova from the Institute for Employment Research (IAB) and Marie-Christine Laible from the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) analyzed.

    According to the study, personality traits such as openness to new experiences, conscientiousness, readiness to take risks, locus of control, and also resilience contribute to people achieving good language skills. If, on the other hand, someone is particularly agreeable or neurotic, this has little influence. Personality traits are particularly relevant when it comes to verbal communication skills, the researchers write. This is less the case when it comes to writing and reading skills.

    Further information

    Kosyakova, Yuliya, and Marie-Christine Laible. 2022. Importance of Personality Traits for Destination-Language Acquisition: Evidence for Refugees in Germany. International Migration Review, 0 (0). (https://doi.org/10.1177/01979183221132538)

    Photo Anna Vander Stel, Unsplash

    All results in the overview

  • Junge beim Lernen in einer Klasse

    Parents’ German language skills help determine children’s success at school

    If parents in foreign-language families lack good German language skills, the children have significant disadvantages at school. As the “Living in Germany” study shows, only 15.5 percent of 13- to 15-year-olds from such families attended a high school in 2019. If, on the other hand, the parents have a good knowledge of German, the likelihood of their children attending a high school between the ages of 13 and 15 is almost the same as in families without an immigrant background. This is shown by an analysis of data from the “Living in Germany” study conducted by Wido Geis-Thöne of IW Cologne. He recommends that children be introduced to the German language in early childhood and preschool.

    Further information

    Geis-Thöne, Wido. 2022. Kinder mit nicht deutschsprechenden Eltern. Eine Analyse auf Basis des Sozio-oekonomischen Panels (SOEP). In: IW-Trends, 49 (1). 111-132.

    Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft (IW) Köln: Children with Non-German-Speaking Parents: an Analysis Based on the Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP)

    Foto von CDC auf Unsplash

    All results in the overview

  • Junge mit Maske sitzt auf einer Treppe

    Refugees felt more discriminated against during the Corona pandemic than before

    Refugees who arrived in Germany between 2013 and 2016 felt more discriminated against during the first year of the Corona pandemic than before. This was particularly the case when it came to finding a job and in educational institutions, according to a study by researchers from the Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) at DIW Berlin. Refugees who lived in eastern Germany, were younger than 40 years old or had poorer knowledge of the German language, as well as employed women felt most frequently discriminated against. The study was based on data collected as part of the “Living in Germany“ study.

    Further information

    MiGAZIN: Flüchtlinge fühlten sich in der Corona-Pandemie stark diskriminiert

    DIW Berlin (Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung): Refugees in Germany perceived higher discrimination in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic

    Foto von Kelly Sikkema auf Unsplash

    All results in the overview

  • junge Frau spricht mit einer Frau

    Mentoring programs make the new start easier

    So-called mentoring programs bring refugees together with Germans to support them in everyday life, in dealing with the authorities, and in finding jobs and childcare. A group of SOEP researchers took a closer look at these programs and also analyzed data from “Living in Germany.” They found that refugees in mentoring programs have more frequent contact with Germans and also participate more often in cultural and leisure activities. They are also more satisfied with their accommodation than others. Their language skills also improve.

    Further information

    Jaschke, Philipp, Lea-Maria Löbel, Magdalena Krieger, Nicolas Legewie, Martin Kroh, Jannes Jacobsen, and Diana Schacht. 2022. 2022-03-22: Mentoring as a grassroots effort for integrating refugees – evidence from a randomised field experiment In: Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 48 (17), 4085-4105.

    Taylor & Francis Group: Mentoring as a grassroots effort for integrating refugees – evidence from a randomised field experiment

    Foto von Kelly Sikkema auf Unsplash

    All results in the overview

  • junge Frau sitzt an einem Fenster in einer Gemeinschaftsunterkunft

    Which refugees succeed in relocating particularly quickly?

    Housing is a central issue of our time and is also important for refugees. After all, the living environment has a significant influence on individual quality of life and social participation. How often, where and why do refugees in Germany relocate? Dr. Kerstin Tanis examined these and other questions on the topic of refugee housing using data from the Living in Germany study.

    The analyses, which are based in particular on retrospective data from housing histories in the survey year 2019, show that the majority of refugees have succeeded in making the transition from community accommodations to private apartments. Especially in the beginning, refugees relocate primarily due to official assignment, but with recognition of the protection status and longer duration of stay, the reasons for relocating become increasingly individual. When looking at the distance of relocation, it becomes clear that refugees often change their place of residence and not only their accommodation.

    Further information

    Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge (BAMF): The residential history of refugees in Germany (Kurzbericht 01|2022 des Forschungszentrums des Bundesamts für Migration und Flüchtlinge)

    All results in the overview

  • young adult writes something on a blackboard

    Learning German

    Refugees face numerous challenges starting over in a new place. Many had to flee their homes in a hurry, so they arrived in Germany without a job or housing, and also without knowing the language. “Many refugees start out living in collective accommodations where they have little contact with German speakers. In the beginning, they don’t have many opportunities to learn the language,” says sociologist Cornelia Kristen, who is conducting research on language learning among refugees based on data from Living in Germany.

    She says that compared to other new immigrants, more refugees enroll in language classes, with almost three-quarters taking a German class. And the classes pay off. Despite starting off knowing less German than other immigrants, refugees improve rapidly in their first year and after about four years, they speak German just as well as other immigrants. These and other findings from the study by Cornelia Kristen and her team have been published as a DIW Berlin Wochenbericht (in German).

    Further information

    DIW Berlin: Geflüchtete lernen Deutsch am effektivsten in Sprachkursen

    Obermain Tagblatt: Sprachkurse sind für Geflüchtete am effektivsten

    All results in the overview

    Photo by Monstera von Pexels

  • drei junge Erwachsene in einem Kurs

    Employed refugees with vocational qualifications participate more frequently in in-service language courses

    Good German language skills are a key factor for the successful and sustainable labor market integration of refugees. The participation of refugees in integration and language courses has increased sharply in recent years.. In the third quarter of 2019, more than 80 percent of refugees who arrived in Germany between 2013 and 2016 had already taken part in such courses. his is shown by evaluations using data from the “Living in Germany” study, in which researchers from the Institute for Employment Research (IAB) investigated which individuals also participate in a language course at the same time as they are employed.

    Language courses to date have mostly been geared toward acquiring German skills before taking up gainful employment. Only very few refugees are gainfully employed while attending a language course. Their share of all participants was 12 percent on average. The results also make clear that refugees with vocational training and refugees working in personal service occupations take language courses disproportionately often. This indicates a comparatively high need for German language skills in the related occupations.

    The researchers emphasize the importance of linking language acquisition, education and professional practice at an early stage in the form of in-service language courses. In particular, refugee women, who often have family care work to perform, could benefit from time-flexible course offerings that can be completed during working hours, but also from better childcare during language courses.

    Further information

    IAB: Erwerbstätige Geflüchtete mit Berufsabschluss nehmen häufiger an berufsbegleitenden Sprachkursen teil

    All results in the overview

  • A Muslim woman wearing a headscarf walks past billboards for some of the party candidates in the upcoming state election in Bavaria.

    Hesitancy to form party attachments

    With just a few weeks to go before Bundestag elections, Germany’s political parties are canvassing for votes. They are also interested in gaining long-term supporters. As an analysis of data from the study “Living in Germany” shows, people with an immigrant background tend to have a weaker party identification than non-immigrants. According to the study, half of immigrants report no long-term partisan attachments, whereas this is true for just one-third of the population overall. According to the SOEP research team, one reason could lie in the fact that immigrants first have to gather experience with the different political parties before developing stronger party attachments over time.

    Among immigrants, long-term party attachment differs by country of origin. Immigrants from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union tend to identify more with the CDU/CSU, while immigrants from Southern Europe and Turkey tend to identify more with the SPD. A disproportionately large number of immigrants from Western countries (USA, Switzerland, Netherlands, France) identify with Bündnis 90/Die Grünen, and immigrants from Serbia identify more with Die Linke.

    Further information

    Spiegel: Wie Zugewanderte die Wahl mitentscheiden könnten

    DIW Berlin: Eingewanderte bauen zögerlich Bindungen an Parteien in Deutschland auf

    All results in the overview

    Photo by Marcin Jozwiak on Unsplash

  • eine Frau bindet einen Strauß in einem Blumengeschäft

    Despite difficult initial conditions, the integration and participation of refugees in Germany is making progress

    Refugees in Germany come from very different countries of origin and have fled to Germany for a wide variety of reasons. However, they have one thing in common: In most cases, they cannot prepare for long to leave their home country. Often, the refugees do not actually want to leave their home country or do not know in which country they will arrive after fleeing. As a result, the refugees often lack German language skills when they arrive in Germany, have few networks or have had to leave parts of their family behind in their home country. Among other things, all of this influences the chances of integration, for example into the labor market.

    Despite all these conditions, the integration and participation of refugees often develops positively in the years following their arrival in Germany. With increasing length of stay, German language skills and participation in the labor market also increase. Many decide to make a new start in their careers and begin new training programs or change professions.

    n the 17th Media Forum Migration of SWR aktuell, Esther Saoub, Richard Arnold, Mirzeta Haug, Khalil Khalil and Dr. Yuliya Kosyakova from the Institute for Employment Research (IAB) discuss developments in the integration and participation of refugees. In addition to the personal experiences of the participants in the discussion, the data from the study “Living in Germany” will also play an important role.

    Further information

    Deutschlandfunk: Mentorenprogramme für Geflüchtete, Krieger (DIW): Kaum Effekte auf Bildung und Erwerbstätigkeit

    SWR: Wohnung, Arbeit, Bildung und …? Partizipation von Geflüchteten

    All results in the overview

  • young men with mask

    Pandemic Job Loss Higher Among Refugees

    Immigrants often hold temporary jobs in sectors like food service and hospitality, and many had only been working for a short time when the pandemic hit. As a result, immigrants were 2.5 times more likely than other workers to lose their jobs during COVID-19. Pandemic job loss was even higher among refugees. Researchers at the Institute for Employment Research (IAB) produced these insights into the employment effects of the pandemic based on data from the study “Living in Germany.”

    One reason for the higher job loss among refugees lies in the different types of work that immigrants and non-immigrants do. Immigrants, and refugees in particular, often have jobs that cannot be done from home. According to study results, only three percent of refugees were able to work from home during the pandemic.

    All results in the overview

    Photo by Thirdman von Pexels

  • Dentist

    Job search—with obstacles

    Five years after arriving in Germany, 28 percent of female refugees and 60 percent of male refugees were employed.

    One key reason for this gap is that in many cases, refugee women worked in sectors such as education and health in their counties of origin. Qualifications earned in these sectors are often not recognized in Germany.

    Another factor are qualifications gained in Germany. Refugee women attend language and integration courses and employment counseling at a later point in time than refugee men. These courses and services play an important role in finding a job in Germany.

    The task of caring for children and being gainfully employed poses an additional challenge for refugee women who arrived in Germany in recent years.

    The researchers at IAB and BIM emphasize that tailoring policy measures to the specific needs of refugee women could help to promote their integration into the German labor market. The expansion of childcare services, for instance, could benefit them and non-refugee women as well.

    Further information

    MIGAZIN: Refugee women must overcome many obstacles for labor market integration

    All results in the overview

    Foto von Evelina Zhu von Pexels

  • two women talking

    Increasing German Language Proficiency and Closer Social Relationships with Germans

    Results from a study based on data from “Living in Germany” show steady improvement in German language skills among refugees who arrived in Germany between 2013 and 2016. As of 2019, five out of 10 refugees rated their German skills as “good” to “very good”. The study was carried out by researchers Wenke Niehues, Nina Rother, and Manuel Siegert from the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF). Results also show that refugees are spending increasing amounts of time with Germans, especially in work and educational settings.

    However, older refugees, refugees with poorer German skills, and refugee women with small children need more time to build social relationships with Germans. They also run the risk of falling behind in the development of language skills and social contact.

    Study results also indicate that refugees’ social contact decreased again during the pandemic, and that many refugees’ language skills may have plateaued or declined.

    Further information

    BAMF: Bessere Deutschkenntnisse und mehr soziale Kontakte bei Geflüchteten

    All results in the overview

    Photo by Amy Hirschi on Unsplash

  • older woman (PoC) smiles and holds a cup

    Older refugees in Germany

    The large majority of refugees who have come to Germany in recent years are relatively young. Only about 12 percent of all refugees living in Germany are 45 or older. These individuals face particular challenges. Compared to younger refugees, they often find it more difficult to learn German, find a job, and make friends in Germany. These are among the findings from a study conducted by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) based on data from “Living in Germany.”

    Many older refugees are worried about their application for asylum (52%), about not being able to stay in Germany (66%), and about having to return to their country of origin (73%). They also worry about their financial situation and health.

    And yet, all in all, older refugees are approximately as satisfied with their lives as younger refugees are. The author of the study, Amrei Maddox, suspects that one reason for this is the older generation’s stronger family ties: Most older refugees live with family members.

    Further information

    BAMF: Older refugees in Germany

    BAMF: Living situations of older refugees in Germany

    All results in the overview

    Photo by Mehmet Turgut Kirkgoz on Unsplash

  • Refugees’ mental health is suffering during the pandemic

    The pandemic has exacerbated feelings of loneliness in many people. Since the pandemic, the non-migrant population reports levels of loneliness that are as high as those reported by refugees for a number of years previous to the pandemic.  of years previous to the pandemic.“

    The study also shows that refugees continue to experience more psychological problems, such as depression and anxiety, than non-migrants.

    The reason is suspected to lie in a lack of social participation, since those who have a job are less lonely. Even having better German language skills or a higher household income alleviates feelings of loneliness in refugees.

    Based on these findings, the research team has called for better language-learning programs and improved access to the labor market for refugees.

    Further information

    DIW Berlin (Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung): Refugees’ mental health during the coronavirus pandemic: psychological distress and continued loneliness

    Der Spiegel: Eine Epidemie namens Einsamkeit

    All results in the overview

  • young women of different nationalities

    Immigrants are becoming better integrated into German society

    Germany has made significant progress in refugee integration over recent years—in terms of employment, social integration, and political participation. In 2018, half of all first-generation immigrants and three-quarters of all second-generation immigrants considered themselves German. In the same year, 56 percent of first-generation immigrants and 77 percent of second-generation immigrants had a primarily non-immigrant circle of friends. These findings by the German Economic Institute were the result of a study based on data from “Living in Germany.” Second-generation immigrants from the new EU member states are almost completely integrated into German society.

    Further information

    Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft: Integration: Deutschland ist auf einem guten Weg

    All results in the overview

    Photo by Joel Muniz on Unsplash