Refugees in Germany: ways to work and social participation

Traffic light trails on spaghetti junction
Kantar Public helped the German Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS) evaluate the integration process of refugees into society and work.


Since 2015, the movement to Germany of people escaping political persecution and violent conflict has led to a range of challenges concerning the integration of migrants into German society and the labour market. From immediate needs for registration, accommodation and subsistence, to the integration into work and society of newly arrived people, the refugee inflow has defined challenging issues for public policy. For the refugees, the challenge of having to learn a new language, deal with authorities, and find a way into education or employment, is enormous.


To support this endeavour, the German Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS) commissioned a ground-breaking evaluation of the integration process of refugees into society and work. As part of a consortium led by the Institute of Labour Economics (IZA), Kantar Public built a new data infrastructure that, in addition to creating access and reach, had to be able to retain contact, build trust and maintain individual relationships with refugees – to provide an understanding of their experiences and needs over the longer term.


This programme, the first of its kind, has broken new ground in its experimental approach to understanding the experiences and needs of this highly vulnerable and hard-to-reach community.


Drawing on the experience of the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP), Kantar Public created a longitudinal sample of migrants coming to Germany since 2013 – on behalf of the DIW Berlin and IAB Nuremberg – alongside a refugee sample of those arriving from 2016. The ability to build long-term relationships to develop the evidence base surpassed all initial estimates. This innovative study has set a new international benchmark for the generation of longitudinal data on a particularly vulnerable population group. Most importantly, it supports the effective work of government in one of the most challenging areas of contemporary public policy.

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