Assistance for Migrants in Germany

Juveniles and adults with migration backgrounds are frequently in a more vulnerable position on the labour market than people without migration backgrounds. The causes for this are often problems in mastering the German language or in school and vocational skills. In many cases they also lack counselling and information concerning vocational training and further education opportunities.

Nonetheless, the equal participation of people with migration backgrounds in the economy and society requires not only a good education, but in particular good training and skilled employment. The Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs does not make any distinction in its efforts to reduce unemployment between naturalised German citizens, Union citizens and persons from third countries living in Germany with prospects of remaining here.

In the National IntegrationPlan (NIP), in which the Federal, Länder and local governments and important civil society stakeholders undertake comprehensive integration measures, special emphasis has been laid in the key topics of education and employment. The Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs therefore bears special responsibility for the implementation of the NIP.

One year after passing the NIP on 12 July 2007, an initial stock-take of progress was made in autumn 2008 . The Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs presented an in-depth account of the areas “Education and the Labour Market”. This describes the status of implementation of the voluntary commitments of the working group “Ensuring good education and training to increase labour market opportunities”.

In order to reduce individual language problems, vocationally-specific language courses are offered with the aim of facilitating rapid integration into the labour market. Language skill advancement will be more closely linked here to elements of vocational further training.
These are measures teaching vocation-related knowledge of German. The measures are conducted on a full-time or part-time basis. The duration of the full-time measure is a maximum of six months and that of the part-time measure a maximum of twelve months. Support is provided to pay course and travel expenses.

Those entitled to participate are recipients of unemployment benefit under Book Three of the Social Code, of unemployment benefit II under Book Two of the Social Code, as well as persons registered as job-seekers. In addition, employees can take part if participation in measures teaching vocation-related German-language skills is necessary in order to retain employability. Assistance is available for persons

  • with migration backgrounds (persons with German as a second language, regardless of their nationality or date of migration, including ethnic resettlers),
  • who have German-language problems making integration into work difficult,
  • who are willing to interrupt the measure if an opportunity arises to take up employment.

The competent Employment Agency can be consulted for more information, or you can visit www.arbeitsagentur.de.

We additionally refer to the “Basic Language Programmes” offered in the scope of the integration courses organised by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees; recipients of unemployment benefit II (under Book Two of the Social Code) without sufficient German skills in particular can and should take part in them.

The Federal Government has moreover set up the nationally active advisory and information network by the name of “Integration through Qualification” (IQ) for the vocational integration of people with migration backgrounds in six regions of Germany. The network is tasked with linking up as many stakeholders as possible who are involved in migration work in their concerns, in order to improve the labour market situation of people with migration backgrounds. In particular, migrants’ access to the labour market regulatory instruments should be facilitated and new migration policy measures developed and tested. Should they prove successful following their evaluation, these instruments and approaches will then be transferred to the comprehensive body of legislation of employment promotion.
Primary objectives are to create customised counselling opportunities, to develop vocation-related language courses, special methods for ascertaining skills, targeted further and continuing education, counselling for business start-ups and livelihoods, as well as schemes for intercultural human resource development.

“IQ” particularly addresses small and medium-sized enterprises in small trade, industry, employment agencies and basic income support providers, as well as public administrations, migrants’ and consulting organisations. At the same time, it offers information and counselling to migrants, helps them recognise their strengths and opportunities on the labour market and encourages them to pursue further training.

Since the project is supported by the Federal Employment Agency and coordinated by the Central Agency for Further Training in the Skilled Crafts, more detailed information is available at www.arbeitsagentur.de or www.intqua.de or at your Job Centres.