The Integration Puzzle What a Million Refugees Mean for Everyday Life

The New Germany: Within only 12 months, over 1 million people moved to Germany. How will they integrate?
DER SPIEGEL

The New Germany: Within only 12 months, over 1 million people moved to Germany. How will they integrate?

By SPIEGEL Staff

Part 23: 'What Is a Petroleum Technician?'


Petra Lotzkat, 55, is the head of the Office for Labor and Integration in Hamburg.

What is it that a juice delivery person does, Ms. Lotzkat?

What is a petroleum technician? "Are we dealing with an oil drilling expert or is it just a gas station attendant?" asks Petra Lotzkat, head of Hamburg's Office of Labor and Integration. In addition to painters and IT people, questionnaires given to refugees have turned up some rather odd qualifications -- such as "self-employed juice delivery man" or "corrosion engineer."

Lotzkat runs the Hamburg-based program Work and Integration for Refugees (W.I.R.). W.I.R. has conducted around 700 pre-screenings of refugees since October 2015, with plans to complete a total of 10,000 by the end of 2016. "We want to know two things," she says. "First, what skills are people bringing with them? Second, what are the market's needs? Then we try to bring the two together." Hamburg has around 15,000 vacant jobs that are officially registered. Prior to the refugees' arrival, Lotzkat says, there was generally "no professional use for people without an officially recognized qualification." But the thinking has since grown more pragmatic. "Today, we no longer ask: What are you? Instead we ask: What can you do?"

This can lead to some unexpected solutions at times. Lotzkat cites an example: An Afghan man who had been injured in the war, visited a health care supply store in Hamburg to have his prosthetic leg fitted. While he was there, they determined that he himself had been a professional health technician. The man tried to land an internship with the company, but it turned out that his technical knowledge was out of date by about 25 years. However, many elderly people still wear old prosthetic limbs that today's medical technicians have no experience working with. But the Afghan man is fully capable. The company ultimately wound up giving him a job.

When asked if she thinks Germany can manage its refugee crisis, Lotzkat says, "yes." The experts, she says, "have been telling us for many years that we need net immigration of several hundred thousand people per year in order to ensure that Germany remains in good shape for the future. Now the people are coming and this is an opportunity that we cannot afford to miss."

By Moritz Aisslinger, Uwe Buse, Markus Dettmer, Anke Dürr, Fiona Ehlers, Ullrich Fichtner, Moritz Gerlach, Matthias Geyer, Özlem Gezer, Hauke Goos, Maik Großekathöfer, Guido Mingels, Dialika Neufeld, Miriam Olbrisch, Christian Reiermann, Cornelia Schmergal, Barbara Supp, Wolf Wiedmann-Schmid and Takis Würger

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spiegelerin 02/21/2016
1. HOW do you integrate them?
I just saw a photo of Africans squatting on a boat waiting to come over and another load of them waiting in Libya. (Kaddafi said, watch what happens when they just hop over to Europe.) They are going to take an integration course and live well in hyper independent Germany? I don't think so. They are adults with different norms. When it comes to women, when it comes to how to cure AIDS (sleeping with virgins) when it comes to noise in the streets...the cultures will not harmoniously merge and European culture will have to deal with becoming less woman friendly, louder and so on...I don't see this happening at all well, but apparently "mixed" societies like in France and Belgium work 'well enough." But more are coming and I don't see harmony, at least not for people with European norms. Will this one get published? It's MY opinion, not that of SPON.
artvent 02/21/2016
2. Muslim Refugees
I'm sorry for these people, but you must realize they will live in their own ghettos and because of their religion will never assimilate - they will not contribute to your society because they are mostly uneducated and they will not respect their host nation. Just look at France if you want to see the problem. Most of all I feel sorry for the German people and what will happen to Germany in the years to come after this invasion. You will lose your identity.
bartelbe 02/21/2016
3. it won't work
You want to know what integration looks like? Integration is mixed families, it is muslim girls dating, sleeping with, marrying and having families with German men. That isn't going to happen, because if a muslim girl amoung these "refugees" decided to date a German man she would be dishonouring her family and would be punish. Let that sink in, your new arrivals reguard you with such contempt that if one of their female relatives dated one of your young men, it would be seen as a form of dishonour. If it was the other way round you would condemn that attitude as racist, but no doubt it will be swept under the carpet just like the events in Cologne. Sex and relationships reveals the truth about how people feel. Your new arrivals are not interested in integration, and they do not respect your culture. That is the truth and no amount of PC censorship will change that.
nsmith 02/22/2016
4. Integration Doesn't Happen Overnight...
Germany is going to find out that Integration is not as easy as "Wir Schaffen Das!" The United States of America was built on that same principle over 300 years ago, and we're still having problems with it.
spiegelerin 02/24/2016
5. The next task is to integrate them...
Yes, one integration course and they will learn European values of not grabbing women, of not thinking that women alone have no honor...One integration course and they won't be the desperate people who don't respect barriers, who don't jump trains. No, if You don't give them money and take care of their needs, they are going to get angry. Just take care of them, at any cost.
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