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Participants at an integration course. To promote language acquisition even better, the researchers recommend improving the quality of integration courses and making them accessible to all immigrants /Photo: Screenshot/BAMF

Germany: High immigrant unemployment level due to language deficiency – researchers

Migrants with a good command of German language have the same opportunities on the German labour market as natives. This is the result of a study conducted by the Cologne-based Institute of German Business.

With the same level of education and good German language proficiency, migrants, according to a new study, equally earn high wages as natives.

Accordingly, higher levels of unemployment among immigrants are due in part to lower levels of language competence, according to a study published on Monday by the Cologne-based Institute for the German Economy (Instituts der deutschen Wirtschaft (IW)). “Language acquisition is thus key to successful integration into the labour market,” the researchers said.

To promote language acquisition even better, the researchers recommend improving the quality of integration courses and making them accessible to all immigrants.

Furthermore, the range of advanced language courses should be expanded and contact with native speakers should be encouraged.

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The scholars also point out that language promotion should also take the local population into account because low-skilled workers without a migration background performed worse in the German language tests than immigrants with higher education..

For the IW study, the researchers evaluated data from the National Education Panel, the Programs for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies, and the Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP). While the first two studies identified German proficiency using standardized tests, SOEP was based on self-assessments of language proficiency.

The unemployment rate for people with migration background in Germany was 6.9% in 2017 while for the native-born population, it was 5.7%.

Femi Awoniyi

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