Kicking off day 2 of DLDsummer, Solveigh Hieronimus talks about the different angles of integrating refugees. While the asylum process has a clear outcome and just one ministry is responsible, the integration process is more complex. It is a journey involving many fields – from education to health to labor to housing. Businesses form the backbone of successful integration in the labor market. And it is a matter of society and individuals.
Two things are core to integration: education and employment. Europe is an aging contintent. On average, every pair has 1.7 children – in Germany, the number has even sunk to 1.4 children. From a labor market perspective, we will need 5 to 6 million more people by 2025. However, they have to be born first – or we would need to become way more productive which is not quite realistic.
Now this wave of immigration comes in. Letting people participate and make them part of the economy is key. We need to work on competency assessment. Only about 8% of the refugees have a transferable certificate of higher education, another 10% have an equivalent of a dual education. The other 80% need to be assessed: What kind of technical skills do they already have? What are their social skills? In the end, technical skills can easily be taught. "We have the best education system in the world", Solveigh argues. A third of the refugees coming are under 18. Bringing them into schools is probably the best investment you could make.