In 2019, Germany was home to around 21.2 million people with a migration background, amounting to 26 percent of the population. Due to a number of factors, unemployment is about twice as high among people who have a migration background compared to those who do not. In recent years, immigration to Germany has risen significantly, particularly from other EU countries. Many of these migrants hold professional degrees or other valuable credentials that are frequently not recognised in Germany. At the same time, skills shortages are becoming more evident in the German labour market.
Mission of the Network "Integration through Qualification (IQ)"
Against this background, it is essential to tap all available potential, including that of migrants. Since 2005, the Network "Integration through Qualification (IQ)" has been working to improve employment opportunities for people with a migration background. Since 2015 the Network IQ focuses on compensatory measures in the context of the Recognition Act. One central objective is that occupational qualifications acquired outside Germany lead to employment appropriate to one’s level of education.
Oftentimes, migrants are perceived in stereotypical and deficient ways. Bringing to light the diverse potential of migrants and raising the awareness of discriminative conditions in labour markets is crucial for improving labour market integration in a diverse society. Therefore, building and strengthening intercultural competences among labour market stakeholders remains one of the central concerns of the Network IQ.
The principal task of the 16 regional networks (one for each federal state or Bundesland) is to implement the programme at their regional level. Each is managed by a regional coordinator and covers a range of subprojects operating on the ground. They offer counselling on credential recognition and on job and bridge trainings to attain full recognition of foreign qualifications. Beyond that, they provide information, advice and training to labour market stakeholders in order to raise the awareness of the specific requirements of migrants. They also disseminate further expertise.
Besides the regional networks, there are five competence centres dedicated to migrant-specific issues at the federal level. They provide expert advice and assistance to the regional networks. These centres develop training schemes, instruments and policy recommendations for the integration of migrants into the labour market. In addition, the competence centres are responsible for giving specialist advice to decision-makers in politics, business and public administration. Matters can range from the development of quality standards and learning materials to the dissemination of research results.
At the federal level, the Network IQ is coordinated by the IQ Dissemination Project (IQ DP). The project facilitates cooperation between the network partners, supports the transfer of best practices and is responsible for the public relations of the Network IQ. Together with the Competence Centres, IQ DP reports the results of the network to relevant government ministries, the Federal Employment Agency and the expert community. "Recognition in Germany" is the multilingual web portal of the Federal Government for the recognition of foreign professional qualifications. The portal works in close cooperation with the Network IQ.
The programme is funded by the Federal Ministry for Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS) and the European Social Fund (ESF). Strategic partners in implementing the programme are the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) and the Federal Employment Agency (BA).
For a brief overview of Network IQ, you can download our flyer.