Migration: Job boost for Ukrainian refugees under criticism

Migration: Job boost for Ukrainian refugees under criticism

A job boost on the German job market? The government wanted to accelerate integration for Ukrainians and other refugees. But there is fierce criticism – from the job centers of all places.

Around seven months after the launch of the so-called Job Turbo to quickly place hundreds of thousands of refugees in work, there is criticism from job centers about the approach.

In a letter to Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD), the head of the Federal Employment Agency, Andrea Nahles, and District Council President Reinhard Sager, the job center staff councils complained, among other things, that the facilities had to create data geared towards success and that this actually hindered integration. The letter was made available to the German Press Agency in Berlin, and was initially reported on by “Spiegel”.

Only in April, Heil had said during a visit to a hairdressing salon with a Ukrainian woman who was working there, “The ‘Job Turbo’ is running at full speed.” Around 160,000 Ukrainian refugees have been given jobs since the war began. In November, Heil had announced that the Job Turbo would help around 400,000 refugees to get jobs directly from their language courses, including around 200,000 from Ukraine.

“Nervously induced “beautiful” data set”

The staff councils wrote to Heil, Sager and Nahles that a “nervously produced ‘nice’ data set” cannot replace sustainable social and labor market integration. Today, there is irrational “whitewashing” in the documentation of cases.

The job center staff councils also criticize a break with the usual approach of providing advice to those affected on an equal footing and providing them with further training rather than placement in assistant jobs. Doing this differently for Ukrainians and certain other refugees is legally questionable and difficult to explain to those affected. It is questionable whether the break in the approach is effective. “After all, we primarily have a shortage of skilled workers and not a shortage of assistant jobs.”

The staff councils also criticise unequal treatment of the unemployed: “At the latest when the irrational central pressure leads to (…) local measures being designed only for those entitled to benefits from the nine main countries of origin (…), we are moving into the area of ​​’reverse discrimination’ (…).”

Beyond glossy individual cases

The staff councils demand of the job center employees: “Let them do their well-understood work without (…) interference.” They warn: “Apart from possible flagship projects and high-gloss individual cases, people entitled to citizen’s allowance will not be integrated into the labor market from Berlin or Nuremberg.” But with the Job Turbo, the job centers would have to complete further bureaucratic tasks in addition to the many case documentation and statistics that already arise: eleven further evaluations alone would be carried out using the instrument.

There is also criticism that the Ukrainian refugees in Germany were able to quickly switch to citizen’s income instead of receiving asylum seeker benefits. If one only looks at the issue of justice, the so-called mass influx directive should probably not have been applied to an isolated group of refugees, the staff councils’ letter states.

Based on this EU directive on the admission of refugees in the event of a mass influx – such as after Russia’s attack on Ukraine – Germany had made it possible for the Ukrainian refugees to receive citizen’s allowance instead of asylum seeker benefits. The process was “politically and pragmatically unavoidable” in view of the overwhelmed municipalities, the letter continues.

The German Association of Districts called for an end to the rapid receipt of citizen’s allowance for new Ukrainian refugees. The immediate citizen’s allowance ensures unequal treatment compared to other groups of refugees. As part of the Asylum Seekers’ Benefits Act, accommodation is also easier, as a spokesman for the dpa in Berlin said.

Source: Stern

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