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Germany tempts foreign workers, despite discrimination

January 31, 2024

Foreign workers in Germany say they face more discrimination than they expected before they moved, a survey has found. Still, the country appears attractive to many skilled workers.

An Indian employee at a German engineering plant
Many skilled foreign workers said they face discrimination finding housing Image: Gunter Hübner/dpa/picture-alliance

A survey from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) showed that Germany remains an attractive destination for skilled workers from abroad.

However, a large number of foreign workers already living in Germany reported racism and discrimination as a feature of their everyday lives.

What did the survey show?

Starting from August 2022, the survey tracked the careers of nearly 30,000 highly qualified people who said they would be interested in Germany as an employment destination. 

A year later, the study showed around only around 5% actually made the move. 

Of those who did make it, more than half said they had faced discrimination when it came to renting or buying housing.

Meanwhile, 37% of respondents also said they had faced incidents of discrimination while visiting restaurants or in shops.

This tended to be less the case when it came to dealing with schools and public authorities, except for immigration offices. The same was true for the workplace.

How big a problem is racism in Germany?

About 15% said they had experienced discrimination by police and 28% said they had faced it at work.

In the cases of those who were successful in making the move, the most important factors were early contact with a German employer and good German language skills.

About half of those arriving were in the IT field or engineering. Another 10% were healthcare workers, the survey revealed.

For those who had not yet migrated to Germany but who were still interested, many complained of complicated procedures and long waiting times for a visa. Fear of discrimination was also a factor. 

rc/wmr (AFP, epd, Reuters)

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