"Integration through Qualification (IQ)"

Recent Results from Migration Research

Growing mobility is changing Europe. Germany is a magnet for immigrants and has opened itself up in an impressive manner, following a long period of discussion as to whether it was a country of immigration that underestimated its continuous migration history. Immigration is urgently needed in an aging and shrinking society. Currently migration flows in Europe are characterized by two major developments: Intra-European labour migration and refugee migration. Migrants are often subdivided into categories according to their chanel of legal immigration as well as to their regions of origin: Internal EU migrants, refugees, students, family reunification immigrant- and labour immigrants from non-EU countries.

Surprisingly, little is known to date about each of these immigrant groups with regard to their specific migration motives, their living situation in Germany, the planned duration of their stay as well as their social and labour market integration. On the one hand, this is due to missing or only partially valid statistics, especially in regard to the large group of persons coming to Germany based on the freedom of movement for EU citizens, as well as undocumented third-country nationals living in the country. On the other hand, this is also due to the methodology used to collect statistical data: migrants are mainly recorded and presented in a one-dimensional manner according to their region of origin, nationality or ethnic background. Differences between immigrants from one country in terms of key factors such as level of education, social background, migration motives etc. only play a marginal role. Similarities between sub-groups from various countries are researched and utilized to an even lesser extent to support successful migration and integration.

Determinants and Profiles of New Immigration

Recently, migration to Europe and Germany has become increasingly dynamic and complex. It is determined by a variety of internal and external circumstances (push factors). In past years, "new labour migration" from other EU Member States represented the largest share of immigration. Even though the quantitative conditions will change in the foreseeable future due to the current sharp increase in the number of refugees in Germany, it is likely that the migrants from the EU in Germany will continue to represent a large share of immigration. New labour migration within the EU is a phenomenon that was characterized at the beginning of the century by the first phase of labour migration from Central and Southeast Europe to the United Kingdom, Ireland, Spain and Italy. With the onset of the economic crisis in 2008, a second phase began, which was characterized on the one hand by strong deflection effects: mobile workers, who had up until then migrated toward North-Western and Southern Europe were migrating to Central Europe, mainly to Germany. In addition to the deflection effects, an immigration movement from the former countries of immigration in Southern Europe and in particular from Spain and at later point Italy began, for which Germany was also the primarily target destination. Most new immigrants came to Germany from Eastern and South-Eastern Europe, especially from Poland, Romania and Bulgaria, as well as from the Mediterranean countries, especially from Italy, Spain and Greece.

The current processes in the area of labour migration within Europe are characterized by

(a) a higher level of mobility of migrants;

(b) the above-average level of education; 

(c) the low average age of new immigrants;

(d) the higher requirements regarding their occupational and social integration;

(e) fewer steering and control options for the state and

(f) completely new aspects such as migration into the dual system of vocational training and intensive use of social media for information and community building.

The search for work is also a driving factor in labour migration from so-called third countries (non-EU countries). Although this type of migration still plays a secondary role in quantitative terms, numerous legal provisions and requirements on immigration were recently liberalized, with the aim of attracting and retaining a larger number of skilled workers into the German labour market in the future. Refugees, foreign graduates and family members are also to be taken into consideration in migration research in the context of potential skilled workers and integration into the labour market. In view of the sharp increase in the number of people in Germany seeking protection as refugees, questions regarding the professional profiles of the refugees and prerequisites for their integration into the labour market are increasingly arising. So far, very little is known about this. In the next few years, a significant expansion of research on the qualifications and skills of refugees is to be expected.