Number of unemployed migrants rises in Germany

Source: Xinhua| 2017-07-18 18:46:54|Editor: ZD
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BERLIN, July 18 (Xinhua) -- Nearly half of those officially registered as unemployed in Germany have a migratory background, the newspaper Welt reported on Tuesday based on an analysis by the Federal Employment Agency.

Some 43.1 percent of a total of 2.5 million individuals who were registered as unemployed in December 2016 were either immigrants or children thereof. In western Germany, where immigration is more common, the share of unemployed individuals with a migratory background was even higher at 49.5 percent.

The state of Hesse topped the table of 16 German provinces with immigrants and their children accounting for 57.7 percent of unemployed residents.

Figures released by the Federal Labor Office back in 2015 showed that the share of individuals with migratory backgrounds had risen to 21 percent of the total population.

Migrants are hence overrepresented among Germany's unemployed, drawing attention to a key challenge the country is likely to face in coming years as it seeks to successfully integrate more than one million recently arrived refugees.

The biggest concentration of people with migratory backgrounds was found amongst the roughly 4.3 million individuals who are "entitled to benefits although capable of work".

The group is constituted by recipients of government welfare whose wages are not sufficient to cover their basic needs.

The Federal Employment Agency put the share of immigrants and their children within this general demographic at 52.6 percent countrywide and 59.9 percent in Western Germany.

There is no obligation in Germany to provide answers to the Federal Employment Agency on the question of whether or not one has a migratory background, meaning that statisticians relied on data provided by the around 78.6 percent of welfare recipients who did respond to arrive at their conclusions.

The data presented shows a rising trend, particularly in the last three years. In 2013, the share of people with migratory background amongst those "entitled to benefits although capable of work" was 43 percent. Only 36 percent of total unemployed individuals had a migratory background.

Although unemployment fell from 2.9 million in 2013 to 2.5 million in 2016, the share of migrants and their children out of work therefore rose by 7.1 percent.

Experts have produced a range of interrelated explanations for why individuals with migratory backgrounds are less successful in securing employment. One such reason may be the "path dependency" of earlier migration policies.

German policymakers specifically sought to attract low-qualified foreign workers during the 1970s in the face of a domestic labor shortage. Many of those who came have found it harder to adapt to recent changes in labor markets which increasingly favor highly-skilled workers.

Additionally, there is still a strong link between the educational background of parents and the success their children enjoy academically and professionally. Low-skilled parents, of which a large share is migrants, may pass on their own disadvantages to their children in this fashion.

Combined with negative stereotyping under which individuals with migratory backgrounds suffer, these factors may explain why they face greater struggles in the labor market.