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McDonald's has employed more than 5,000 refugees since 2015/Photo:AfricanCourierMedia

McDonald’s CEO seeks ‘a clearer future’ for refugees in Germany

The head of the fast-food chain McDonald’s in Germany says refugees should be offered more certain future prospects. Holger Beeck also said that he could not understand why well-integrated migrants are deported.

McDonald’s has employed more than 5,000 refugees since 2015, the company’s CEO in Germany, Holger Beeck, told the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung.

“These are people who came to (McDonald’s), mostly without qualifications or knowledge of the language, but with the determination to make their own living,” said Beeck. Through the company, the migrants had learned German and been given a chance to join the labour market, yet often they were not allowed to stay in the country, he added.

“For me the worst thing is when well-integrated people are deported,” Beeck told the paper. “I will never understand that! I’m speaking now not as the head of McDonald’s but as Holger Beeck the person.”

Around 60,000 people are currently employed at McDonald’s in Germany.

Asylum-seekers are generally allowed to apply to the Federal Employment Agency for permission to work in Germany three months after submitting their application. A recent study showed that while employment prospects for refugees, asylum-seekers and other migrants in Germany have improved slightly, only 49% of those who have come to Germany since 2013 have been able to find steady employment within five years of arriving.

Under a new law which went into effect on 1 January 2020, certain asylum-seekers whose applications have been rejected can obtain an “employment toleration” (Beschäftigungsduldung), if they have begun a state-recognized vocational training course or work for at least 20 hours a week, learned German, and have been able to support themselves for 18 months.

So that this regulation is not understood as an invitation for unskilled migrants, the authorities say, it remains limited to old cases. Only those who entered before 1 August 2018 can receive “employment toleration”.

Sola Jolaoso with InfoMigrants

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