Asylum Seekers About Their Life Situations and Participation Perspectives: Language and Work are Key

What is important to refugees? How do they see their opportunities for labour market and societal participation? The joint study by the Research Unit of the Expert Council of German Foundations and the Robert Bosch Stiftung focuses on this very topic: the subjective views of refugees.

For the study, originally published in November 2017, interviews were conducted with 62 asylum seekers from Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, Pakistan, Albania, Kosovo and Macedonia who were, at the time, had arrived in Germany not long before, and (still) did not have a secure residence status. The results: many see language, work and a secure residence status as key to participating in social life. In terms of the place of residence, a key finding is that many refugees would be willing to settle down outside of the metropolises if provided with the right incentives and local framework conditions. A key incentive is access to education and work. The interviews show that refugees desire to attain financial independence as soon as possible, generally achieved through a rapid integration into the labour market. This may not be compatible with the desire to remain qualified over the longer term.

A central labour market policy conclusion can be derived from the study: Work-related offers for guidance, placement and qualification should be better adapted to the needs of refugees. Above all, this concerns the field of tension between the desire for a quick entry into the job market on the one hand and for a long-term qualification on the other. Here, low-threshold employment opportunities during qualification phases have proven to be helpful measures, as have the addition to the classic vocational training system of modular offers that build on one another and that can be combined as needed.

Find a summary of the study here