Most refugees in Germany who find employment are in temporary positions, study reveals

Although many refugees in Germany find work, most are in temporary positions. This was the finding of a new study, commissioned by research institute, Berlin Institute of Population and Development.

The study, titled ‘The long road to labour market integration of refugee” when translated from German, looked into the integration process of refugees in Germany’s labour market.

It found that about 95,000 refugees from the eight most significant countries of origin had found jobs between February 2018 and January 2019. The eight most common nationalities among refugees in Germany are Afghans, Eritreans, Iranians, Iraqis, Nigerians, Pakistanis, Somalis and Syrians.

Roughly one-third were employed in insurable jobs, while the rest were in service industry jobs or employed as temporary workers. Just one-sixth of these refugees had worked as untrained assistants back in their countries of origin, yet almost half were doing so in Germany.

The study found that the country’s bureaucracy was one of the key reasons for this. Candidates for vocational training need at least two years of intensive language training, and then another two to three years of job training before they can enter skilled employment.

In an interview with German news agency DW, a 53-year-old female refugee from Egypt, Manal, said she struggled to find work after five years in Germany. She participated in German language courses, and then in training courses that help refugees to contact the labour market, but without success.

“I work in the dietary and nutrition field, but finding a job in that area was impossible here. There are no vacancies, and perhaps I haven’t become proficient enough in the German language,” she said.    

Most refugees do not have the time. They need to earn money to pay smugglers for their journey to Europe or send money home for the money borrowed from friends and family.

Thus, most refugees take the first job they can find. Authors of the study said “that can quickly turn into a dead end.”

Michael, an Egyptian refugee in Germany, told DW that he found a job delivering packages and mail to homes shortly after receiving his refugee status. However, he did not receive a fixed salary, but instead was given him 50 cents for every package he delivered.

“This is not even enough to pay for my health insurance,” he said. Health insurance is mandatory for all residents in Germany.

TMP – 31/07/2019

Photo credit: Jesus Fernandez /

Photo caption: Migrant seasonal workers pick strawberries in a field in Neuötting, Germany. 8 June 2019