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Asylum Seekers on the labour market - Germany

Even though #asylumseekers in #Germany are legally allowed to work after some time since submitting an asylum application, finding work still proves to be a difficult task. Unfortunately, the nature of the #asylum status often leads to susceptibility #exploitation in the #workplace.

Since March 2020, asylum seekers in #receptioncenters have not been allowed to work for 18 months (24 in some Federal States). At first, the work ban period lasted only three months (2019). Rejected asylum seekers with a tolerated stay (#Duldung) are allowed to work only after six months following the court decision on their status.

Even when eligible for #employment, asylum seekers often have trouble finding work because acquiring a work permit is administratively complicated for the employer. This process causes many companies to reject them. Sufficient knowledge of the German language is another expected barrier.

Due to the factors mentioned above, many asylum seekers are left without proper worker protection and are vulnerable to exploitation. For example, the minimum wage in Germany is currently 9,82 Euros per hour, but illegal workers earn much less. They also often work in unsafe conditions, are exposed to health risks, and are left without a right to compensation in case of a workplace-related injury.

Around 50% of refugees and asylum seekers eventually manage to access legal employment and work in skilled positions. However, the number of those who have no access to work is still too high. Additionally, since many accessible positions include work areas such as construction, a survey from 2019 showed that almost 40% of male asylum seekers found work after 36 months in Germany. Still, only 10% of women managed to do the same.

Even though the labour market in Germany is more accepting of asylum seekers than it is in many other European countries, there is still much room for improvement. An active government effort is needed to create unrestricted procedures and decent jobs from which asylum seekers, in particular, would benefit.

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