ZEW - Centre for European Economic Research

06/19/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/19/2023 07:29

Leveraging Labour Market Potentials of Immigrants in Germany // Unlocking Labour Market Potentials: Maximising Integration and Immigration Policies

Unlocking Labour Market Potentials: Maximising Integration and Immigration Policies

For over 50 years, migrants have become an integral part of Germany's economy and society.

Since the first recruitment of foreign workers almost 70 years ago, Germany has become the world's second most important destination for international migrants, after the United States. Despite this fact, there has been a long-standing reluctance among policymakers and in public discourse to acknowledge Germany's status as an immigration country. Yet, a proactive integration and immigration policy is more important than ever, given the stagnant employment opportunities for newly arrived migrant cohorts over the last two decades. Ukrainian refugees, in particular, possess considerable untapped potential in the job market, as a study conducted by ZEW Mannheim reveals, based on microcensus data.

"With this data, we can compare the integration trajectories of various migrant groups, ranging from the so-called guest workers to those who migrated from Eastern Europe after the fall of the Iron Curtain, as well as refugees and EU citizens from both old and new Member States," explains Paul Berbée, an economist at ZEW's "Labour Markets and Social Insurance" Unit and co-author of the study.

"Ukrainian individuals who sought refuge in 2022 have notably better employment prospects, thanks to their strong educational background, compared to earlier refugee groups who arrived in Germany during the Yugoslav wars or around 2015," Paul Berbée continues. "However, in order to truly harness this potential, it is crucial to have enabling factors in place, such as access to childcare and flexible work arrangements, especially since a significant portion of these individuals are women with children."