Why do people make life difficult

27.11.2020 09:35

Everyday racism makes life difficult for refugees

Antje Karbe University communication
Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen

Obstacle to integration in the labor market: study by Tübingen political science reports on discrimination in training and looking for accommodation

Racism and discrimination make it difficult for refugees in Germany to integrate into the labor market. This is the conclusion of a political science study by the University of Tübingen: A team led by Dr. Nikolai Huke conducted 64 interviews with refugees, authorities, advice centers, volunteers and trade unions in six regions of Germany. In the discussions, experiences of racism in authorities, vocational schools, companies or when looking for accommodation were repeatedly reported, which those affected found very stressful. The study is part of the joint project “Welcome Culture and Democracy in Germany”, which is funded by the Federal Ministry of Research. It is published in cooperation with the Pro Asyl initiative and the IG Metall trade union (Migration and Participation Department).

When it comes to the integration of refugees into the labor market in public debates, racism is rarely an issue. The focus is mostly on language skills, the recognition of qualifications, bureaucratic hurdles or problems with residence status. In the qualitative interviews of the joint project - discussions that examine individual fates and enable open answers - it became clear that racism can also be an obstacle to integration in everyday life: the interviewees reported derogatory remarks, mobbing and exclusion through to tangible arguments.

In vocational schools, experiences of racism could cause psychosomatic complaints and drop-outs, according to author Nikolai Huke. In the companies there are conflicts between employees. “In some cases, those who had been discriminated against were fired, while those who expressed themselves racist did not face sanctions. In the authorities, prejudices and a lack of language skills repeatedly make it difficult for refugees to access support services and make them dependent on external support (e.g. from volunteers). "

Refugees also find it particularly difficult to find an apartment and often have to live in refugee accommodation for longer than necessary. Everyday life there is associated with numerous stress factors, such as a lack of learning and retreat areas. This is psychologically stressful and makes professional qualification more difficult.

“Migration and differences of origin are actually part of everyday life in most companies. The social integration of refugees in the workplace is usually low in conflict, ”says Huke. "Nevertheless, we observe in our research that refugees experience racism in various areas of life, which makes stable integration into the world of work much more difficult." to fight against racism at school or at work.

"Where there is no equal access, the doors are wide open for exclusionary and racist acts in companies," says Andrea Kothen from the Pro Asyl organization. “A state that subjects part of the population to discriminatory regulations must know that the system has an everyday effect in the companies.” Petra Wlecklik from IG Metall (Migration and Participation Department) emphasizes that “is a problem that affects society as a whole is based on our institutionalized and non-formal ways of living together and is by no means just the problem of the people who are affected by it. Company managements should focus on non-racist educational work and intercultural work. "

As countermeasures, the study suggests, among other things, establishing professional anti-discrimination and legal advice centers across the board, promoting voluntary support for refugees in everyday life and making labor market actors such as authorities and vocational schools more aware of this issue.

The study “At the bottom of the hierarchy. Racism as an obstacle to the labor market for refugees ”is available as a free download at www.welcome-democracy.de/arbeitsmarktintegration.

Scientific contact:

Dr. Nikolai Huke
University of Tübingen
Institute for Political Science
[email protected]
Telephone +49 (0) 1578-7414416

Features of this press release:
Society, politics
research results