Status: 20.11.2023, 18:45 PM
Federal Minister of Labour Hubertus Heil at the 3rd Labour Market Summit "Job-Turbo" in Berlin. © Kay Nietfeld/dpa
What needs to happen for hundreds of thousands of refugees to be placed in jobs? The Minister of Labour warns the business community not to expect perfect knowledge of German.
Berlin - The German government, business and trade unions want to get hundreds of thousands of refugees into work more quickly. The work should be "as tailor-made as possible", but also "as quickly as possible", said Federal Labour Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) on Monday in Berlin after a meeting with top representatives of the Federal Employment Agency and associations of the economy, trade unions, companies and municipalities.
At the start of the "job turbo" announced by Heil in October, the participants signed a declaration "Now in the job: Integration into work is worthwhile". Heil said: "I am glad that we have succeeded in closing ranks." Since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, 140,000 people from the country have already found work in Germany. "It's a start, but it's not nearly enough for me," Heil said. In total, there are 400,000 refugees who have completed their integration course or are about to do so and are then available for the labour market - around half of them from Ukraine.
No prediction of success
Heil did not want to give an assessment of how quickly these people could be integrated into work. "Labour market integration is not a foregone conclusion," he said. But: "I believe that if we work together here, we will succeed in making sure that in a year's time we will be much further along than we are today."
The chief executive of the Confederation of German Employers' Associations, Steffen Kampeter, and DGB board member Anja Piel expressly assured Heil of their support. Kampeter said: "The Ukrainian refugees are a very special challenge for the labour market because they are particularly qualified." In this context, the principle of encouragement and challenge must be communicated even more strongly.
1.7 million job vacancies
Priority must be given to the placement of those affected so that refugees become colleagues, Kampeter said. Refugees should also be increasingly involved in training processes. The employers' representative said: "We have 1.7 million vacancies in Germany." In this respect, he agreed with Heil that the qualification of refugees could also counteract the shortage of skilled workers.
"Many have been in work for a long time and many want to find work, but are being thwarted," said DGB board member Piel. Barriers would have to be dismantled - even if there is often a lack of childcare and recognition of qualifications today.
No need for perfect German
Heil emphasized that it must be made clear that employees do not have to speak perfect German at first. "We need companies that hire refugees in German even with basic skills," he said, adding that "pragmatic solutions" are needed to learn the language. The partners also rely on in-service training in order to be able to deploy people according to their abilities. In individual cooperation plans, for example, steps such as further qualification in addition to employment or further language acquisition are to be determined.
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At the same time, it is clear that the refugees also have a duty to cooperate, said the minister. When the "job turbo" was announced in October, Heil had already said that there should be cuts in the citizens' allowance if job offers were not accepted. Dpa