Migration is back on the European agenda after a fire in the Mória refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos, left some 13,000 people without shelter.
EU internal affairs commissioner Ylva Johansson has called for “compulsory solidarity” from member states, but not all countries are willing to accept asylum seekers. The Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia rejected proposals to proportionally distribute migrants across the EU.
With xenophobia hindering effective migration policies, it helps to look at the country that accepts the most refugees: Germany. The attitude of “we will manage” can be an example for his neighbors.
Nearly half a million people applied for asylum in Germany in 2015, and another 750,000 in 2016. Many of them are refugees from the war in Syria, but there are also immigrants from Afghanistan and the Balkans.
Giving jobs to so many new arrivals has been slow, but the numbers have been increasing. Between 8,500 and 10,000 immigrants entered the German workforce each month in 2018. Detlef Scheele, head of the German Federal Employment Service, argues that “there is no reason for pessimism” and “that everything is going well.”
Germany achieves this by facilitating well-attended compulsory German language courses and providing government-sponsored vocational training.
About one in three asylum seekers in 2015-16 were underage. Some have attended higher education. Only 30,000 to 50,000 migrants who arrived in 2015 are eligible for university entry.
One year later, only 5 percent of migrant children do not attend school.
Most children take integration courses, which emphasize German to prepare them for regular classes.
Programs are also provided for adults to return to school and earn secondary education degrees, qualifying them for higher education.
One step at a time
Germany is still in trouble. The large number of asylum seekers overwhelmed German authorities, causing delays in the application process and overcrowding of integration courses. Two out of three migrants remain unemployed. In 2015-16, crimes were committed by asylum seekers double.
But the country’s achievements should not be underestimated. Germany is not an immigrant country. It is now the second most popular destination for migrants, after the United States. It quickly and efficiently absorbed a large group of foreigners. This has acquired a young migrant population to keep pace with the aging native population.
Other European countries must take heart. If Germany can integrate hundreds of thousands of migrants, so can they.
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