Have you come to Germany as a refugee? Are you looking for job opportunities in Germany? Then this guide may be helpful to you.
Finding jobs in Germany can be tough, and refugees may struggle to get accepted in the society and get a position in the labor market in Germany. As war conflicts push waves of people toward Germany each day, the battle to find jobs surely gets even tougher.
However, you should not be discouraged. There are many job opportunities in Germany. You only need to know all the right procedures and legal requirements to obtain these jobs. From the current situation regarding jobs for refugees in Germany, to getting asylum, looking for a job in Germany, details about qualifications and training – this article seeks to provide as much useful information on this topic as possible.
The current situation in the German labor market for refugees
Germany has some of the strongest asylum rights in Europe. And when you add in the country’s highly-developed economy and great standard of living, it’s clear why so many refugees want to make Germany their home.
In fact, Germany is number one when it comes to first-time asylum applications. The first quarter of 2016 saw almost 175,000 applicants – 61% of the total number of applicants across the EU. Germany refugees from Syria represent a huge portion of the applicants, amounting to 102,000 first time asylum applicants in the first quarter of 2016. Those are high numbers, but they are understandable: foreigners that live and work in Germany are a vital asset to German society both in an economic and cultural sense, so the country largely embraces them.
There are jobs for refugees in the German labor market. And most of them are in the fields of medicine, civil engineering, and nursing. Refugees who have proper certification, training, and knowledge of the German language can begin working quickly after finishing with all the necessary paperwork. Small and medium-sized firms are also eager to expand their workforce by hiring refugees as reported in a recent survey.
For refugees whose current asylum status is uncertain, many work in public service in jobs including helping other refugees and the homeless, cleaning up public places in the community, landscaping, and working in various food services. Berlin already employs over 4,000 such refugees in the public sector. The city of Hanover offers such refugees in Germany jobs in the public sector consisting of repairing bicycles, sorting donated clothes and even taking children to kindergarten. Although these jobs are not paid much, they offer an opportunity for learning the language and filling the spare time until asylum is granted.
Getting asylum in Germany
Victims of political persecution are granted the right of asylum by the German Constitution. It applies only to foreigners, who the Federal Republic of Germany is willing to accept within its borders.
To be able to seek asylum, you must be in Germany. It’s impossible to start the procedures if you’re abroad. While the asylum process is underway, though, you’ll receive a residence permit with limitations. This document legalizes your stay until the whole procedure is finished. Note that this permit is different from the work permit, which you can qualify after one year. If you come from a country of unsafe origin, it’s highly possible that the asylum process will start immediately after your arrival.
The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, or BAMF for short, is responsible for monitoring and approving asylum. The process consists of several steps if you are seeking asylum:
- According to the Asylum Procedure Act, you’re brought to a reception center in a specified German state.
- You must submit an asylum application to a specified branch of BAMF.
- Case workers from BAMF personally interview you. In the presence of an interpreter, they ask you questions about your travel route as well as about the circumstances of the persecution you have escaped from. The whole interview is recorded in writing, translated in your language and a copy is given to you at the end.
- BAMF’s decision is based on the interview and other examinations as they determined are needed. You are notified of the decision in writing.
- If the application is accepted you get an asylum status.
- Finally, you acquire the same rights as all legal immigrants to Germany regarding social security, including courses for learning German, benefits for children, social welfare, and other forms of help with integration.
Note: Refugees who look for employment can’t receive German work visas unless they are in an extremely rare position. (i.e. They have skills in a profession that there is a shortage of in Germany / exceptionally qualified individuals.)
Hunting for a job in Germany
Refugees in Germany can start hunting for a job three months after applying for asylum. After that period, if they find a job, they can receive a work permit. However, they fall under the priority check rule which means that the refugee can obtain a job only if no German or a citizen of the European Union is qualified and available for the same job. After 15 months, however, the rule loses its power and refugees can get any job they want. There’s only a small condition – the municipal immigration office needs to give approval to the refugee before he/she accepts the job offer.
When it comes to hunting for jobs, there are multiple options to help you start working in Germany:
- You can register at one of the offices of the Federal Employment Agency. It conducts a priority review before they authorize you to begin working. The 3 criteria they examine are: the effect your employment has on the labor market, the existence of priority applicants (these 2 criteria stop after 15 months of your stay in Germany), and working conditions (reviewed until 4 years have elapsed). For further information, the agency has a hotline +49 30 1815 1111 where you can get advice.
- Consult an online job portal – expatjobseeker.de offers insight on everything you need to work in Germany and allows you to search for jobs in Germany – new jobs added daily.
Unfortunately, self-employment isn’t an option for you while the asylum process is underway. That is because permission for self-employment depends on a normal residence in Germany, which you receive only after your asylum application is accepted.
In the end, the longer you have stayed in Germany, the greater chances you have for employment.
Get your qualifications accepted
Visit the Ministry of Education and Research’s portal for all the details regarding the recognition of your qualifications and skills: Recognition in Germany: https://www.anerkennung-in-deutschland.de/html/en/index.php.
Basically, you should submit as many certificates, diplomas, and proofs of vocational training as you can. That’ll increase your chances of getting your qualifications accepted by the German government. In order to get your qualifications recognized, you have to submit relevant documents to support them. In some cases, you may be asked to take a test as a guarantee of your specific skills. That’s when you’ll be asked to either provide a sample of your previous work or participate in a technical interview.
Training and apprenticeship
Many refugees decide to participate in vocational training or take on an apprenticeship when they arrive in Germany. They want to gather as much experience in a field as possible before actually applying for a job in Germany.
Here the rules are exactly the same as acquiring a regular job. Once you get the appropriate permit, you can begin with the vocational training or apprenticeship.
Note: An apprenticeship doesn’t guarantee you a longer stay or a job position in Germany. Permission for traineeships and apprenticeships are reevaluated by immigration offices annually.
Stay focused and you will find something
Thanks to actions taken by the German government, restrictions on refugees are decreasing and the asylum process is becoming more simplified so refugees can find work faster. New refugee jobs in Germany and opportunities to get workforce training are always becoming available, so stay focused and you will find something soon enough.
Useful resources / information
- Access to the labour market for refugees
- German Cabinet bill eases rules for asylum seekers
- Rights to Employment for Asylum Seekers (Refugees) in Germany
- Asylum and refugee policy in Germany