OECD study praises German efforts to help migrants integrate

OECD study praises German efforts to help migrants integrate

A new study by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has praised Germany - now the OECD member country with the highest number of migrants after the US - for its efforts to help migrants integrate.

Germany praised for migrant integration strategy

A new study of the 38 OECD member countries and 15 comparative countries has found that Germany has performed relatively well in helping migrants integrate.

Assessing countries based on the OECD-EU indicators of immigrant integration, which considers labour market integration of immigrants, educational outcomes of children of immigrants and living conditions, among other factors, Germany was found to have performed well.

"Integration is going far better than is generally thought when we look at it internationally," German integration commissioner Reem Alabali-Radovan told Deutsche Welle.

Germany must do more to support migrants in education

However, the study identified several areas where Germany falls short in helping migrants and those with migrant backgrounds to integrate.

While two-thirds of migrants to Germany have developed good skills informally at German courses or integration courses within the first five years of living in the federal republic, the number drops off sharply among migrants with little to no formal education. Only one-quarter of migrants without formal schooling can speak German five years after they arrive. For the same group, the number of people in work is also much lower, at 50 percent, compared to 70 percent among the overall immigrant population, which is significantly higher than in most other EU peer countries.

"The education system still isn't geared toward serving the immigrant society we've long since become. That's why we all need to pull together,” said Alabali-Radovan. Related findings were made in the most recent PISA study, also put together by the OECD, in which Germany’s ranking slumped partly thanks to schools' failures to support pupils who aren’t native German speakers.

Who makes up Germany’s migrant population?

"There are now more than 14 million immigrants in Germany. And when we add those who were born here to immigrant parents, that means one in five people here were either born abroad or born in Germany to immigrant parents," OECD economist Thomas Liebig said at a press conference. In absolute terms, these figures make Germany the OECD country with the second-largest migrant population after the US. 

And while much media coverage is dedicated to Germany’s migrant populations who came to the country as part of the Turkish “Gastarbeiter” generation or as asylum seekers and refugees from Syria in 2015, the OECD study found that the overwhelming majority of new migrants in Germany today are from EU member states. Meanwhile, only one in five migrants who came to Germany in the past decade came as refugees.

Thumb image credit: Geiger /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan

Editor for Germany at IamExpat Media. Olivia first came to Germany in 2013 to work as an Au Pair. Since studying English Literature and German in Scotland, Freiburg and Berlin...

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