Rosy Report On Refugees In Germany Immediately Called Into Question

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Jacob Bojesson Foreign Correspondent

A new report from the German government suggests refugees are more educated and qualified to join the workforce than previously thought, but economists are expressing doubt.

Many refugees who have arrived in Germany over the past year will be soon be integrated enough to get a job, according to a new study from Germany’s Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF).

Figures show about 50,000 migrants found a job in Germany between September 2015 and the same month this year. Around 30,000 of them made enough to qualify for social insurance contributions. Another 100,000 are claiming unemployment benefits.

A majority of the jobs are in logistics, warehousing and agriculture.

Several economists have expressed doubt over the findings in the report. The Cologne Institute of Economic Research (IW) found opposite results in a similar study from March.

“Most of the data we know show that we actually have a very unfavorable qualification structure [among asylum seekers],” Wido Geis, a senior IW economist told Deutsche Welle. “From the numbers we have until now, between a fifth and a quarter of people have no more than primary school level education.”

BAMF reports 58 percent of adult refugees spent 10 years or more in school in their home countries, compared to 88 percent among German residents. About 73 percent of migrants have held some kind of employment before moving to Germany. The average career lasted 6.4 years.

“We do see that the overwhelming majority has poor qualifications, and is not yet active on the market,” Geis told DW.

Chancellor Angela Merkel met with corporations in September to urge them to hire more migrants. Just 100 migrants had been hired by blue-chip companies at the time. (RELATED: Merkel Tells Corporations To Hire More Refugees After Just 100 Got Jobs)

“Given that around 80 percent of asylum seekers are not highly qualified and may not yet have a high level of German proficiency, we have primarily offered jobs that do not require technical skills or a considerable amount of interaction in German,” a spokesman for Deutsche Post DHL said in an email to Reuters.

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