Germans try to sort refugees

It is all a question of perspective…

“The Refugee Detectives: Inside Germany’s high-stakes operation to sort people fleeing death from opportunists and pretenders” (Atlantic):

Two years after the peak of the influx, more than 80 percent of refugees were jobless, in a general population whose unemployment rate is 5.5 percent. Successful integration is not assured.

“Germany’s Secret Labor Experiment” (nytimes):

In fact, Germany is moving at full speed with a plan to channel those refugees into its work force. Germany’s political class is doing the country an egregious disfavor by soft-pedaling its muscular, state-of-the-art efforts in labor market integration.

Germany does indeed face a demographic crisis, but it’s not from the influx of refugees. Its population is aging rapidly, and jobs are going unfilled. Over the next decade, Germany is going to need even more — not fewer — immigrants to keep its economy on track and cover growing pension outlays.

So Germany’s going with what it’s got: an abundance of young, overwhelmingly male foreign nationals, a relatively small segment of whom have advanced education or professional training.

Despite the bumps, there’s already evidence of success.

Economists say that a plausible best-case scenario is 50 percent or 60 percent of the current refugee population being employed five years from now — a prediction contingent on successful integration. If this happens, economists say that Germany can accommodate a net migration of about 700,000 people a year.

To get true public support, the country’s leaders have to change the public conversation from one that fears migrants to one that sees how integration can help everyone.

21 thoughts on “Germans try to sort refugees

  1. It’s amazing that, if the idea is to fill jobs, 50-60 percent is to be considered a success!

  2. A little out of the box thinking…

    The abomination called Germany needs to be put out of its misery. One hundred and forty-eight years is enough. Partition it between its neighbors, or return the land to the loose confederation of small states it once was.

    Leave the expelling of the Turk to the Winged Hussars.

    Give Mother Russia leave to retake the Hagia Sofia. Do not waste further English lives to support the Sultan.

    Restore Hashemite control over Mecca and Medina. Leave the House of Saud to tend their goats in Riyahd, where their Mahdist religious counselors can do little harm.

    Heck, we are already restoring the children of Israel to David’s city.

    Is letting Europa continue to be sucked dry by African mosquitoes really a preferable alternative to such daydreams?

    Happy Mother’s Day!

  3. Resettling refugees is not just a jobs program, it is a humanitarian response.

    Yes, we do hope as many as possible are integrated into the economy of the country that welcomes them, but that’s not the sole criteria for success. For many, the transition takes years as they need to learn an entirely new language, culture, and profession. Some, who have fled war and other hardships, may suffer from PTSD, etc.

    In the case of high-skilled jobs/professions, I believe Germany requires serving a long apprenticeship. Not sure exactly how many years, maybe depends on the profession, but I’m sure it applies to refugees and new immigrants as well as natives.

    A little perspective: my great grandparents came to the US without any money, limited skills, speaking zero English. Their children thrived and supported them when they got here and as they aged. My grandfather had to turn down a free education at Cooper Union because he needed to work to support his parents and younger siblings.

  4. The destruction of Germany has been planned for a long time. Read up on the Kalergi Plan, from Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi; the Morgenthau Plan; the book “Germany Must Perish!” by Theodore Kaufman, etc.

    By destroying the genetics of Germany, Germany will cease to exist. That is why only young men of a different race, and not the stated “poor refugee women and children” have been allowed into the country. Sorry to say it, but Merkel and her collaborators all need to hang…

  5. On one thing they agree: the integration rate and projection. The first day 20% in two years, the second argue for 50-60% in five years. Seems on track.

  6. Francisco: Are you sure that “Two years after the peak of the influx, more than 80 percent of refugees were jobless,” means that 20 percent of refugees are able to get jobs after two years? I read it as “20 percent of all working-age refugees have jobs”, so it would include people who came 5 years ago as well as people who came 5 months ago. Similarly “a plausible best-case scenario is 50 percent or 60 percent of the current refugee population being employed five years from now” would include people who showed up in Germany in 2010, for example. So by 2023, the year in which supposedly roughly half will have jobs, they would have been present in Germany for 13 years.

    Bill: “a humanitarian response”? Living in Germany on German welfare is not a great lifestyle (e.g., compared to living in Manhattan on US/NY welfare). If it is really about “humanitarian” and only 20 percent of these folks are going to work, why not instead fund refugees to relax on a beach in a country with a low cost of living?

    Bill: I don’t think the German apprenticeship system accounts for the fact that only 20 percent of refugees are working. A German apprenticeship is a paid position and it is considered “working.” See for how this system actually keeps Germany’s employment statistics looking healthier.

  7. From Wikipedia (with citations): “The US military has minimum enlistment standards at about the IQ 85 level. There have been two experiments with lowering this to 80 but in both cases these men could not master soldiering well enough to justify their costs”.

    IQ is graded on a bell curve, so 85 is the bottom ~10% in a Western country. The average IQs from Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan (Germany’s immigrant sources in the NYT article) are 87, 83, and 84. Good luck Germany!

  8. >>If it is really about “humanitarian” and only 20 percent of these folks are going to work, why not instead fund refugees to relax on a beach in a country with a low cost of living?
    philg: What do you think Greeks in EU are doing?

  9. @Abhay. @philg – I just returned from a 8 day visit to the Greek island of Lesvos where I spent time in the Moria refugee camp and spoke with numerous refugees. While I did see a group of refugees taking swimming lessons in the Aegean Sea one day (under the auspices of an NGO that is trying to help find healthy physical activities for refugees away from the camps while they wait for decisions on their asylum cases), it is not at all accurate to say refugees in Greece are there to “relax on the beach.”

    Every single refugee I spoke with expressed the desire to live in safety and work. Most have been through hell that you and I cannot imagine. The continued, pejorative characterization of refugees as freeloaders is baseless and serves no purpose other than the dehumanize and diminish people who don’t deserve it.

  10. @anon – where do you get the IQ figures you quote? I’m not aware of any widespread IQ testing of refugees. If it is true that there has been such an effort, I would be curious to hear if any attempts have been made to address cultural bias in such tests (something that has been studied and documented).

    I don’t know how many refugees you’ve actually met, but I’ve met hundreds through my work and the notion that they fall in the bottom 10% on the Western intelligence scale is horseshit. On the contrary, to get from Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq or other countries to Europe or the US takes intelligence, problem-solving ability, flexibility, perseverance and money. The refugees who make it are uniquely qualified to succeed, just like most of our ancestors 2-3 generations ago.

  11. Bill S:

    “to get from Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq or other countries to Europe or the US takes intelligence, problem-solving ability, flexibility, perseverance and money”

    If all these folks as smart and persevering as you claim they are, why the countries they inhabited are as broken as they are ? Countries are about people, not geography. Think about it if you can.

  12. @bill s: a few years ago an apartment building 1 block from my house was converted into a “settlement house” that temporarily houses refugees when they first arrive. Our community association complained about the mayhem it has caused (you name it, they’ve done it) and were met with “but they’ve been through so much”, “they can’t be expected to live up to our standards just yet”, etc. The IQ figures I googled seem about right.

  13. Isn’t it a little rude to Turkey to describe these folks showing up in Germany as “Fleeing Death”? I’d assume they’re more or less ok as soon as they exit the conflict zone.

  14. @philg: my comment was tongue-in-cheek, but now more seriously:

    You’re correct, the 20% is not properly defined, but it’s not hard to believe that it mostly refers to those from the peak years. First, because it makes sense that the last to come have had less time to find jobs; second, because of the numbers asylum seekers (Applications and Arrivals):

    Year Applications Arrivals
    2018* 56 127
    2017 198 370 186 000
    2016 722 370 280 000
    2015 441 899 890 000
    2014 173 072
    2013 109 580
    2012 64 539
    2011 45 741
    2010 41 332
    2009 27 649
    2008 22 085
    2007 19 164
    2006 21 029
    2005 28 914
    2004 35 607
    2003 50 563
    2002 71 127
    2001 88 287
    2000 78 564
    1999 95 113
    1998 98 644
    1997 104 353
    1996 116 367
    1995 127 937
    1994 127 210
    1993 322 599
    1992 438 191
    1991 256 112
    * until April

    The years 2015/2016 disproportionately have the bulk of recent asylum registrations, having since then declined again, significantly. Also, more than 50% of the refugees are still undergoing integration courses [2]. While this peak is significant, Germany is not new to the act of receiving refugees. See the numbers during the Yuguslav wars (primarily Croatian and Bosnian wars during 1991-1995). The total numbers are not too dissimilar, however these people, and unlike what Canada and the USA did at the time, were mostly kicked out once the war was over [3].

    Germany also has experience with high muslim influx during the 60/70s when they reconstructed and propelled their economy to the “German miracle”. During this time they invited many guest workers from other countries, and the Turkish represented a large bulk (about a million arrived then, now they constitute a 3 million strong community).

    Initially, these were “guest” workers: they were only allowed to stay for two years, were young to middle-aged men, no families, came from poor uneducated regions of Turkey and, with interpreters in factories, there was no need to learn German. But they proved themselves good workers and the Germans didn’t want to keep hiring and training, so they let them stay after the two years and bring families. Also, many stopped wanting to go back. The integration, however, is hardly a success (see [4] for a good summary), and even now, these communities remain poorly educated and keep their conservative rural roots, just recently rooting for Erdogan, seemingly not adopting a European view. In any case, despite the problems of integration, these people did contribute to the German economy significantly. The long-arch social aspect of it is yet to be seen, but it’s been 50-60 years now. One difference is that the work they were doing back then may not be available these days. But the profile is not entirely dissimilar.

    But you are correct, your estimates are not dissimilar from those of the German government’s:
    «Aydan Özoğuz, commissioner for immigration, refugees and integration, told the Financial Times that only a quarter to a third of the newcomers would enter the labour market over the next five years, and “for many others we will need up to 10”. (…) Many of the first Syrian refugees to arrive in Germany were doctors and engineers, but they were succeeded by “many, many more who lacked skills”.»

    > Bill: “a humanitarian response”? Living in Germany on German welfare is not a great lifestyle. If it is really about “humanitarian” and only 20 percent of these folks are going to work, why not instead fund refugees to relax on a beach in a country with a low cost of living?

    The humanitarian aspect is a valid point, because these people were risking their lives in the Mediterranean, and putting massive pressure in countries like Greece, Hungary and Serbia (mostly trying to reach Germany; also many immigrants in other EU countries flee to Germany). But your funding idea is essentially what has been done with the EU Agreement with Turkey [6]: the UN says Turkey hosts 2,900,000 refugees and Turkey says it’s actually 3,500,000. The EU budgeted €3 bln. for this and drownings have been reduced from 1,150, in the year before the agreement, 3 years ago, and last year, 62, and arrivals in Greece reduced from 2,700 persons/day and to 81 persons/day

    [1] (BAMF)

  15. That table wasn’t very easy to read, so here goes:

    Year – Applications – Arrivals
    2018* – 56,127
    2017 – 198,370 – 186,000
    2016 – 722,370 – 280,000
    2015 – 441,899 – 890,000
    2014 – 173,072
    2013 – 109,580
    2012 – 64,539
    2011 – 45,741
    2010 – 41,332
    2009 – 27,649
    2008 – 22,085
    2007 – 19,164
    2006 – 21,029
    2005 – 28,914
    2004 – 35,607
    2003 – 50,563
    2002 – 71,127
    2001 – 88,287
    2000 – 78,564
    1999 – 95,113
    1998 – 98,644
    1997 – 104,353
    1996 – 116,367
    1995 – 127,937
    1994 – 127,210
    1993 – 322,599
    1992 – 438,191
    1991 – 256,112
    * until April

  16. @ivan – first of all, I would never say that “all” of these folks (or of any folks) are smart and persevering, but I know from first-hand experience that many, many are. May I assume you have no first-hand experience with refugees?

    As for the notion that refugees “broke” their countries, there are more than enough examples of once reasonable countries being ruined by civil war or other factors. Afghanistan in the 60s was said to be peaceful, sophisticated (at least the cities), but 40 years of war can do a lot to mess a place up and I certainly don’t hold every citizen responsible.

  17. Bill S: “May I assume you have no first-hand experience with refugees ?”

    You may not — I did have quite a bit of experience with refugees of different stripes and colors.

    “Afghanistan in the 60s was said to be peaceful”

    Afghanistan, perhaps, although unlikely: they had plenty time to recover from the Russian and American joint commie-nizing/democratizing efforts, see Germany for a counter-example after the WWII, or even Russia. However, who broke Turkey, Nigeria and the Russian Federation, also sources of refugees ?

    May I assume that the notion of the people inhabiting their land being primarily responsible for their destiny is totally alien to your ideology ? As in “Toute nation a le gouvernement qu’elle mérite” ?

  18. @Ivan – OK, so you hold each individual in a society responsible for the ills of that society. I do not believe in such collective guilt.

    Afghanistan had plenty of time to recover? You naively gloss over the deep damage done by the Soviets and the US to that country. In any case, blaming the refugees is ridiculous.

    You cite Russia as a source of refugees in Germany, but according to the site you sent, only 6.8% of those who applied for asylum in 2017 were successful. This is literally a handful of people and you hold this tiny group, who were able to demonstrate a legitimate fear of persecution, responsible for “breaking” Russia? You know nothing of the circumstances that led them to flee: violence, political, religious, sexual discrimination.

    I’m not sure you actually know what we’re talking about when we speak of refugees.

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