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The Labour Market Integration of Immigrants in Germany

  • Thomas Liebig

The current situation of the labour market integration of migrants in Germany has to be viewed in the light of its immigration history. During the post-war economic boom, until 1973, Germany focused on the recruitment of low-skilled foreign labour. Many of these “guestworker” immigrants settled and were joined by their foreign spouses, which has given rise to a second generation of persons with an immigrant background. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Germany received massive immigration flows of ethnic Germans from Eastern Europe. Shortly after the peak immigration of ethnic Germans, Germany received large numbers of humanitarian migrants. German statistics only distinguish along nationality lines. This hampers assessment of the situation as this does not take account of ethnic Germans – who have German nationality and are now the most important immigrant group, although they face difficulties similar to those of other migrant groups. Assessment based on nationality is also problematic since immigrants with a foreign nationality have increasingly and selectively taken up German citizenship. There is a clear need for statistics based on the country of birth... Pour comprendre la situation actuelle en matière d’insertion des immigrés sur le marché du travail allemand, il convient de s’imprégner de l’histoire de l’immigration dans le pays. Pendant l’essor économique de l’après-guerre et jusqu’en 1973, l’Allemagne a privilégié le recrutement de main-d’oeuvre étrangère faiblement qualifiée. Un grand nombre de ces « travailleurs invités » se sont installés et ont été rejoints par leur conjoint étranger, ce qui a donné naissance à une deuxième génération d’immigrés. A la fin des années 80 et au début des années 90, l’Allemagne a accueilli des flux massifs d’Allemands de souche provenant d’Europe orientale. Peu après la crête de cette vague d’immigration, le pays a reçu de très nombreux migrants pour raisons humanitaires. Les statistiques allemandes établissent des distinctions uniquement en fonction de la nationalité, ce qui gêne pour évaluer la situation. En effet, elles ne tiennent pas compte des Allemands de souche, qui possèdent la nationalité allemande et constituent aujourd’hui le groupe d’immigrés le plus important, alors qu’ils se heurtent à des difficultés analogues à celles rencontrées par d’autres groupes de migrants. La difficulté d’évaluation que crée cette distinction sur la base de la nationalité se trouve renforcée par le fait que les immigrés qui n’étaient pas de souche allemande ont été de plus en plus nombreux à obtenir leur naturalisation à l’issue d’un processus sélectif. Nous aurions manifestement besoin de statistiques fondées sur le pays de naissance...

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Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers with number 47.

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Date of creation: Feb 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:oec:elsaab:47-en
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