Labor Minister Heil’s push to get more refugees into work has been well received by trade unions. However, they urge caution.
BERLIN taz | In a joint statement on Monday, the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (BMAS), the Federal Employment Agency, trade unions and several business associations agreed to the “planned by the federal government”Job turbo” to support. The aim of the program is to get refugees who don’t yet speak German well into work more quickly.
“Work is the best integration,” said Federal Minister Hubertus Heil. The program is not just about care and protection, but also about creating real arrival and prospects in Germany. Heil is confident that the job centers will have sufficient budget funds available from 2024 to be able to support the “job turbo”.
Jobs for 400,000 refugees
The job centers are intended to provide refugees with jobs based on their skills and qualifications and support them in improving their language skills. It should be possible to start a career with a language level of B1 or A2 or higher. Until now, according to the Skilled Immigration Act, academics and skilled workers with professional qualifications recognized in Germany had to have a proven language level of at least B2, i.e. fluent language skills.
Heil said the program aims to help 400,000 refugees, half of them from Ukraineaddress them directly: “It’s time to start work.” The minister pointed out that there are obligations to cooperate in citizens’ money and that otherwise “in an emergency” benefits could also be reduced.
We want to learn from countries with supposedly higher integration rates such as Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway, emphasized Daniel Terzenbach, board member of the employment agency. Integration can only be successful in the long term if all partners – administrations, companies and refugees – pull together. The labor market summit on Monday lays the foundation for this. The signatories of the declaration also want to work together to create a welcoming culture in companies.
DGB warns of caution rather than haste
Anja Piel, board member of the German Federation of Trade Unions (DGB), also supports the so-called job turbo. But she urged “care before haste”. Speed is important, but not at any price. “The goal must be good work, because refugees are not stop-gap. They need a real chance to find socially secure, well-paid work based on their knowledge and skills.” Now we must use the job turbo together to reduce the barriers to refugees’ access to the labor market.
“Projects that support refugees to enter the job market are to be welcomed,” says Tareq Alaowsrefugee policy spokesman for the human rights organization Pro Asyl taz. “However, the individual situation of the refugees should be taken into account so that these are not mandatory measures. At the same time, work bans should be abolished without exception and such projects should be accessible to all refugees without bureaucracy.”
So far, such plans only refer to recognized refugees and generally exclude others, such as people with a tolerated stay or people in the asylum process who receive payments from the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act.