Integration of Immigrants with Different Cultural Background:
the German Experience
Reserarcher, Center for Comparative Socio-Economic and Political Studies, Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO). Moscow, Russia, email@example.com_id: 684500 |
The article deals with the German integration policy toward the refugees that arrived in the country since 2013, including on the wave of the 2015 migration crisis. Analysis includes such aspects of integration policy as its discursive design, education (language and integration courses), refugees’ access to the labor market, social integration and the identity of immigrants. The “bottlenecks” and the most urgent problems of German integration policy are shown, along with the possible ways of solving some of them. Among the key problems of the integration policy are the lack of inclusivity of integration and language courses, which can be attended only by the refugees with a recognition index (Anerkennungsquote) above 50%. A lot of course participants are unable to complete their studies, and afterwards, demonstrate a low level of knowledge. Integration of refugees on the labor market is generally assessed as positive; however, there is a number of administrative barriers in this sphere, such as a ban on work in particular German territories for refugees with low recognition indexes, as well as restrictions on the change of residence. A number of pressing problems of integration policy lie in the field of psychology: the key of them are the search for refugees of a new identity and their difficult psychological condition (almost one in every three refugees is susceptible to one or another psychological disorder). However, in the situation of uncertainty, while the refugee has to wait for a long time for a decision on his application, the therapy is virtually useless, and the problem of refugees’ search for identity doesn’t have any efficient solution. The value basis of integration policy remains limited: without a full solution to this problem, the fundamental positive changes in its implementation are still questionable. A significant contribution to the integration of refugees is made by volunteers who receive refugees to their families, provide mentoring and other types of support. All in all, successful integration happens most often, if an individual approach to refugees is combined with their adoption of local practices, formal and informal settings. Despite the fact that civil society greatly contributes to integration of refugees, the interaction between the state and the civil society is not always effective. Thus, two of the three German citizens who provided assistance to refugees (both professionally and voluntarily) faced regulatory and legislative problems. In general, despite a number of difficulties, Germany demonstrates considerable success in the field of integration policy, which is in line with the generally optimistic attitude of the Germans regarding the prospects for the integration of refugees.
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