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Majority of Germany’s ‘open door’ refugees have entered the labour force

2 weeks ago
Majority of Germany

Picture source: Wikipedia Ex-German Chancellor Angela Merkel

What was Angela Merkel’s ‘Open-Door’ Policy?

Germany’s former chancellor Angela Merkel, welcomed more than 1.2 million refugees and asylum seekers at the height of the 2015-16 migrant crisis. During Merkel’s tenure, she was hailed for her “great moral and political courage” in supporting asylum seekers. 

On the other hand, Merkel’s decision to let in so many migrants boosted the far-right Alternative for Germany party and resulted in protests by a vocal minority.


Looking Forward

Of the refugees who arrived in 2015, 64% of them are employed. However, there are many more women who are without work. 90% of employees in this group were subject to social security contributions.


Barriers Ahead

Several barriers are identified that refugees face when looking for work in Germany, such as restrictions to freedom of movement and employment bans. During the asylum application process in Germany, those waiting for their refugee status to be approved are generally not allowed to work and the process can take several months. To top it all, many refugees don’t meet certain language requirements.

Germany also faced issues recognising the skill sets and qualifications of the immigrants. Added to this, job precarity amongst refugees was exacerbated by the Covid-19 crisis, as migrants are over-represented in the hard-hit services sector.


Inadequate Female Participation 

While the employment rate amongst male refugees is encouraging after several years of living in Germany, this is not the case for women. Out of the refugees who arrived in 2015, some 31% of women were employed in 2022, compared to 75% of men. 

Research reveals, this is because women often remain the primary family caregivers. Most women are not able to find spaces for children in daycare and therefore miss opportunities to learn the language and fall even further behind in terms of employment.


EUs aging Population 

The need for young workers is becoming increasingly pressing. Foreign workers could help to plug these skill gaps. Germany is facing rapid population aging. According to the projection of the Ageing Working Group of the European Union, Germany will spend 12.5% of GDP on public pensions by 2050, against 10% on average in the OECD

Germany is currently the largest refugee-hosting country in the EU, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees(UNHCR), and it ranks third on a global scale.

Germany also took in a number of refugees from Ukraine, although these individuals did not need to apply for asylum because they immediately received temporary residency status.