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Study: Half of refugees to find work by 2020

Kate Brady
April 20, 2017

Berlin reportedly plans to cut funding for its "one-euro job" employment scheme for refugees. The Institute for Labor Market estimates meanwhile that 50 percent of refugees will be employed within five years of arrival.

Syrian refugee working at BMW
Image: Getty Images/J. Koch

German daily "Süddeutsche Zeitung" (SZ) reported on Thursday that the German government plans to cut its one-euro job program for refugees.

Citing Germany's Labour Ministry, the paper said the promised 100,000 jobs will cease to exist. From 2018, funding for the project would fall from 300 million euros ($323 million) to just 60 million euros, SZ reported.

Read: When refugees want to work in Germany

The remaining 240 million euros will go to "increase the budget of administrative costs" for the Jobcenter employment office, including personnel costs, rent and enegry bills.

Faster asylum procedures 

Launched in August 2016, the program, which was due to receive annual funding of 300 million euros until 2019, was aimed at asylum-seekers who had been left waiting for a long time for a decision on their asylum application.

By the end of March this year, however, only 25,000 positions had been applied for, according to the report.

Syrian seeks to start a business in Germany

Due to faster asylum processing procedures, refugees, particularly those with good residency prospects "switched much faster to basic security benefits for job seekers," the SZ quoted the report as saying.

Read more: 'One-euro job' program for refugees off to a slow start in Germany

Labor market policy spokeswoman for Germany's Greens, Brigitte Pothmer, described the findings as a scandal and accused Social Democrat and German Labor Minister Andrea Nahles of ignoring experts' warnings.

"The failure of the totally superfluous program is completely on her head," Pothmer told SZ.

"The money is being used to fill the holes in the Jobcenter, whose administration has been underfunded for years, and not for the intended purpose, namely for the refugees," she added.

The Ministry of Labor stressed, however, that the additional funds for job centers could help "benefit refugees more individually, more precisely and more intensely through care and measures."

Investing in refugees to save long-term

50 percent of refugees 'in work' in 5 years

News of the reported cut on Thursday came as the Institute for Labor Market and Vocational Research expressed optimism about the integration of refugees in Germany's labor market. Researchers predicted that, within five years of their arrival, about 50 percent of asylum-seekers who came to Germany would be in work.

By the first half of 2016, 10 percent of refugees who came to Germany during 2015, 22 percent of those who arrived in 2014, and 31 percent of those who received asylum in 2013 had found work.

- OECD praises Germany's refugee integration

- Cologne public library redefines its role through new refugee project

A large proportion these figures is attributed, however, to unpaid internships and minor employment. If these employment conditions aren't taken into account, only 5 percent of refugees who arrived in 2015 were in employment in the first half of 2016, 13 percent of those from 2014 and 21 percent from 2013.

The survey of more than 4,800 refugees - conducted by the Institute of Federal Agency for Labor, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, and the Socio-Economic Panel - also found that the number of workers from asylum-seekers from Afghanistan, Eritrea, Iraq, Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia and Syria increased by 80,000 between 2015 and 2016.

Job fair brings German and refugees together

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