Report , News of 7 September 2016

Many refugees have work experience but a smaller share possess formal vocational qualifications

Daniel Kuhne (Copyright)  Lackierer Lackieren Lackierung
Copyright: Daniel Kuhne

Academic and vocational qualifications play a crucial role when it comes to successfully integrating refugees and other migrants into society. What qualifications did migrants already acquire in their country of origin and which did they obtain in Germany? And to what extent are qualifications gained abroad recognized in Germany? The IAB-SOEP Migration Sample shows that the majority of the migrant groups studied in the present report completed their schooling abroad and already gained professional experience there. However, only a smaller share possess formal vocational qualifications. One-third of refugees and other migrants applied for foreign qualifications to be recognized in Germany. Hoewever, the recognition rate is low for refugees. For migrants to find work in Germany, it is crucial that the qualifications they bring with them are in demand on the German labor market. On the one hand, it is important that they learn German and invest in further training programs, and on the other, they should seek recognition of their academic and vocational certificates in Germany.It has taken longer for refugees who have been living in Germany for some time, particularly those who arrived between 1990 and 2010, to take up gainful employment than other migrants. These findings are based on data from the Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) and the IAB-SOEP Migration Sample. In addition, these refugees show a higher rate of unemployment and earn lower incomes by comparison even years after arriving in Germany. Refugees from different regions also show a tendency to work in certain occupations and in jobs that are below their skill levels. These findings indicate the importance of targeted educational and labor market measures to facilitate the best possible integration of refugees into the German labor market—and thereby also into German society.

The full report by Elisabeth Liebau und Zerrin Salikutluk in: DIW Economic Bulletin 34-35/2016 | PDF, 175.13 KB