Recruitment Policy of the Federal Republic of Germany
The recruitment policy of the Federal Republic of Germany was a phase of the policy of the Federal Republic of Germany from 1955 to 1973, in which foreign workers were recruited on the basis of recruitment agreements abroad and foreign workers were granted a temporary stay in the country in order to earn income. This form of labor migration , which took place on the basis of international recruitment agreements, was limited in time in the Federal Republic of Germany: corresponding agreements were only concluded from 1955 to 1968, and on November 23, 1973, shortly after the beginning of the first oil crisis , the Brandt government came into effect I imposed recruitment ban in force. Those recruited were called “ guest workers ”, although this term has also been popular as a term for migrant workers in general since the 1960s, when the time limit had actually been eliminated.
A total of around 14 million guest workers came to the Federal Republic from 1955 to 1973; about 11 million returned to their home countries.
Numerous employees lived and worked in the Federal Republic of Germany due to the freedom of movement regulations of the European Economic Community (EEC) or without a special contractual basis (Austria, Switzerland, England, USA). In terms of numbers, these employees only played a minor role compared to those who entered the Federal Republic of Germany on the basis of recruitment agreements.
- 1960: Recruitment agreement between the Federal Republic of Germany and Spain ( Adenauer III cabinet )
- 1960: Recruitment agreement between the Federal Republic of Germany and Greece (Cabinet Adenauer III / Konstantinos Karamanlis )
- 1961: Recruitment Agreement between the Federal Republic of Germany and Turkey (Cabinet Adenauer III / Cemal Gürsel )
- 1963: Recruitment agreement between the Federal Republic of Germany and Morocco ( Adenauer V cabinet )
- 1963: Recruitment Agreement between the Federal Republic of Germany and South Korea ( Cabinet Erhard I )
- 1964: Recruitment agreement between the Federal Republic of Germany and Portugal (Cabinet Erhard I / Américo Tomás )
- 1965: Recruitment agreement between the Federal Republic of Germany and Tunisia (Erhard I cabinet)
- 1968: Recruitment agreement between the Federal Republic of Germany and Yugoslavia ( Kiesinger / Mika Špiljak cabinet )
These agreements often came about at the initiative of the countries of origin who wanted to relieve their labor market and benefit from foreign exchange income; For the Federal Republic of Germany they meant a welcome influx of workers, all the more so since after the Wall was built in 1961 there were hardly any emigrants from the GDR.
For foreigners, in addition to the first way, recruitment (entry and examination by the recruitment commission), there were also other ways to come to Germany for gainful employment. The second way was entry with a consular visa based on an existing job offer, whereby the issuance of the visa required a permit from the German police and the German employment offices, which u. a. checked whether a suitable German worker was available for the vacancy (principle of domestic primacy). The third way was to enter the country with a tourist visa in order to then apply for a residence and work permit.
With the free movement of workers in the European Economic Community (EEC), to which Italy also belonged, introduced by three ordinances in September 1961, March 1964 and October 1968, the conditions for labor migration from there changed. From January 1, 1962, EEC workers no longer required a visa to enter the country, but an identity card was sufficient. The recruitment agreement was from then on less important for Italian workers. (See also: Article "Italians in Germany", section "History" .)
The economic recession of 1966/67 caused recruitment to decline. The 1973 oil crisis and the associated economic downturn ultimately led to a complete ban on recruitment that same year.
As early as the early 1970s, the term “ guest worker ” was viewed as euphemistic by some sociologists.
Four interim agreements were signed on December 11, 1953:
- "An agreement on old-age, survivors' and disability pensions,
- an agreement on social security benefits in the event of illness, maternity, accidents at work, occupational diseases and unemployment, as well as family benefits,
- two additional protocols, each extending the personal scope of the two agreements to refugees. "
There were still some gaps in these interim agreements, especially for people who had worked in more than two countries. Together with the interim agreement which was European Assistance Convention closed, which provides for equal treatment of citizens of the signatory countries with nationals and a far-reaching ban them only because expel because they are in need. This ban on deportation applies if the person in need has already been in Germany for five years - or ten years if they are older than 55 years. The times in which he has made use of welfare services are not counted.
Development of guest worker immigration
First recruitment agreement with Italy
The impetus for an agreement to begin recruiting Italians in West Germany came from Italy. Bernhard Ehmke, the responsible ministerial advisor in the Federal Ministry of Labor, outlined the situation in a meeting on November 9, 1954: “Intense ... urge from abroad to bring workers into the German economy. [No ministerial visit goes] on which this question is not item 1. ”He mentioned Italy and Spain in particular. In Italy in particular, high unemployment and concerns about communist unrest had increasingly become a domestic political problem. After a year of Italian pressure, an alliance made up of Federal Economics Minister Ludwig Erhard , Foreign Office and Franz Josef Strauss, Federal Minister for Special Tasks, pushed through to Adenauer that the Italian requests should be answered. The alliance had different interests in each case. The Federal Minister of Economics was concerned about Italy's foreign trade deficit, which threatened further sales of German goods in Italy. The Foreign Office pursued the improvement in relations after the war that was most recently a time of conflict between the two sides. By responding to the Italian requests, Strauss wanted to counter the demands for wage increases from German unions. The Federal Labor Minister Storch, on the other hand, according to Heike Knortz , "in view of ongoing unemployment, initially still had public opinion, including employers' associations and the trade unions, behind him, but soon succumbed to the primacy of foreign policy generated by the Foreign Office during the negotiations with Italy."
On December 20, 1955, the first recruitment agreement was concluded under Adenauer in Rome . It was agreed that the Nuremberg Federal Employment Agency in Italy should select and recruit workers together with the Italian labor administration.
A survey by the Allensbacher Institute in March 1956 showed that 55% of the Federal Republican citizens questioned answered against when they were asked: “Are you for or against Italian workers being brought to Germany?” 20% were in favor, possibly in favor were 6%. 18% had not heard of it yet. Of the 55% negative responses, the vast majority (41%) gave the reason that there was enough German workforce.
Subsequent recruitment agreements
In the following years further recruitment agreements were concluded between the Federal Republic and the sending countries to compensate for their current account deficit with the Federal Republic of Germany: on December 20, 1955 with Italy , in March 1960 with Spain and with Greece , on October 30, 1961 with Turkey , then with Morocco, Portugal, Tunisia and Yugoslavia.
Foreign policy motives also played a role, for example in the recruitment agreement with Turkey. The initiative came from the sending countries. Anton Sabel , President of the Federal Employment Agency (predecessor of the Federal Employment Agency ), told the Ministry of Labor on September 26, 1960 that an agreement with Turkey was in no way necessary in terms of labor market policy, but he could not judge “how far the Federal Republic is going can close a possible such proposal of the Turkish government, since Turkey has applied for its admission to the EEC and as a NATO partner occupies a not insignificant political position. "
On September 10, 1964, the Portuguese Armando Rodrigues de Sá was ceremonially welcomed as the millionth guest worker in Germany. At this time, a total of 78% of foreign employees in Germany were male, 22% female. Overall, the share of women in the foreign workforce rose between 1960 and 1973 from 15% to around 30%. In 1970, the proportion of employed women among foreign women (55%) was significantly higher than among women from West Germany (29%).
In the 1960s, the guest workers were mostly given a job in industry as unskilled or semi-skilled workers . They mainly worked in areas where heavy and dirty work had to be done and where the shift system , serial production forms with low qualification requirements ( assembly line work ) and piecework wages determined everyday work.
Average German unemployment rate up to 1990 only
West Germany, from 1991 all of Germany.
For the companies , who demand labor, the recruitment of guest workers had financial advantages because, from their perspective, German workers would only have accepted the same jobs with considerable wage concessions. Conversely, the recruitment of foreign workers also had an impact on the wage level of German providers of labor, especially in the low-wage sector.
In the course of the 1966/67 recession , many guest workers returned to their homeland because their contracts were not renewed. In 1973, at the time of the oil crisis , the German Bundestag agreed to stop recruiting guest workers.
Recruitment stopped in 1973
On November 23, 1973, due to the current energy and economic crisis, the Federal Ministry for Labor and Social Affairs (BMAS) issued a decree to stop recruitment. This affected all recruiting states with the exception of Italy . A total of around 14 million guest workers came to the Federal Republic from 1955 to 1973; about 11 million returned to their home countries. At the time the recruitment stopped, around 2.6 million foreign workers were employed in the Federal Republic. Immigration then continued at a low level. It was now largely about immigrant spouses and children.
With a directive on the employment of foreign workers of November 13, 1974, the Federal Labor Office exempted certain industries from the prohibition of recruiting. These were the mining , fish and canning industry, peat industry and hotel and restaurant industry .
With the controversial Return Assistance Act (RückHG) to financially promote the willingness of foreign workers to return, the Federal Government tried in 1983/84 to ease the burden on the labor market due to increasing unemployment.
The recruitment ban applies to nationals of non-EU countries in accordance with the relevant provisions of the law on foreigners de facto to this day, although it is due to the possibility of family reunification, the granting of residence for the purpose of studying, etc. a. was partially relativized. The Green Card Offensive 2000, the Residence Act 2005 and the related ordinances and the Employment Ordinance 2013 created narrowly defined opportunities for skilled workers from non-EU countries to immigrate. Most recently, the Skilled Immigration Act, which will come into force on March 1, 2020, has expanded these options even further for a period of two and a half years. To this day, the recruitment agreements regulate social and residence benefits for employees from the recruiting countries and their family members.
For labor migration to the FRG in general, see the chapters: “Development in the Federal Republic of Germany up to reunification” and “Developments after reunification and political debate” of the article “Labor migration”
Reception of the guest worker boom
In the retrospective assessment of the guest worker boom in the still young Federal Republic of Germany, various factors were placed in the focus of the scientific analysis. The sociologist Friedrich Heckmann, for example, looked at shifts in social status and the improvement of qualifications among German employees. According to his presentation, the promotion of qualified and popular positions was also made possible for German employees due to the positions occupied by guest workers for which no special qualification requirements were necessary. Lately it has been criticized that the uncritical cooperation between social scientists and political institutions has led to a victim plot in the history of labor migration. In this victim plot, the migrants are stylized as passive victims without taking their motives into account. That prevents a factual and scientific discussion of the topic. Integration measures were also often ineffective because the immigrants' lack of initiative and their "obstinacy" opposed them. A distinction must be made between groups and phases of the stay. Especially with Italian guest workers of the first generation, a “transfer of southern Italian political and cultural structures into German companies and the German municipality” has taken place. In the music, the theme was taken up by Udo Jürgens ( Greek wine ), Karel Gott ( the girl from Athens ) and Conny Froboess ( two little Italians ).
According to Reinhold Weber and Karl-Heinz Meier-Braun , numerous Germans have moved into better professional positions due to the employment of foreign workers: 2.3 million Germans rose from blue-collar to white-collar positions, mainly because of the employment of foreign workers. Foreigners reacted more strongly to bad employment situations than Germans with self-employment . In addition, according to Weber and Meier-Braun, the pension insurance was for a long time "subsidized" by the foreign employees: the amounts paid by the foreign employees to the pension insurance were only offset by around a tenth of benefits.
A study published in 2013 found that in 2011 poverty among foreigners over 65 years of age was 41.5%, more than three times as high as among Germans in this age range. This is also attributed to the fact that many former guest workers received low incomes.
Descendants of guest workers
In the 1970s, the “recruitment stop” (1973) and the reduction in child benefit for children not living in Germany (1975) led to an increase in the reunification of family members, while at the same time the idea underlying the rotation model, namely the residence of guest workers, continued is only intended to take place for a limited time. Since politicians largely ignored the issue of integration policy against this background , the public discussion was limited primarily to aspects of labor market policy and distribution policy. Regardless of this situation, the labor migration officially organized in the 1950s transformed into an “ immigration situation” in the late 1970s . At the turn of the 21st century, the group of former guest workers and their descendants made up the majority of citizens with a migration background in Germany. Because this group is such a large and culturally visible group of immigrants, research has spoken of the “myth of return” or even the “illusion of return”, given the actual return of an overwhelming majority of migrants (12 million out of 14 million migrant workers returned) is empirically not tenable.
The rotation model, which was "officially and openly" never practiced anyway, initially no longer played a role towards the end of the 1970s; Instead, a controversial discussion began about the final return of the originally recruited to their home countries. On the one hand, the general attitude towards the host country remained ambivalent for the guest worker families ; on the other hand, the perceived change in the former home countries led to the experience of strangeness in these families. The descendants of guest workers in Germany are also exposed to increased pressure to “ adapt ”, which is reflected, among other things, in the requirement that children should have a good command of German before they start school. Students of foreign nationality attend secondary and special schools disproportionately often, with foreign parents and migrant organizations advocating that children of immigrants are not referred to special schools for learning disabled people ( see also: Article “Child poverty in the industrialized nations”, section “Escape from the poverty trap " ). Among other things, migrant organizations founded private schools that were supposed to meet the needs of the children. Difficulties associated with subsequent generations first came to the fore when the number of children following the recruitment ban increased. A number of these perceived problems are being analyzed and discussed in greater detail up to the present day , for example from the point of view of educational disadvantage. Approaches to the solution are, in particular, the promotion of school education as well as a distanced reflection on cultural influences practiced by all citizens living in Germany .
Situation in the countries of origin
In the countries of origin, the question arose how to deal with this if many guest workers were to return at the same time. The economy was not prepared for their arrival and the countries of origin showed little interest in their reintegration. In Yugoslavia recruited returning skilled workers, but not the numerous unskilled workers, and it was feared that they, who had experienced prosperity and luxury in the host country despite the often unworthy living conditions, would increase the army of the unemployed and stir up social unrest. In Spain at that time the free formation of interest groups and associations was prohibited by law, so that they could hardly support one another. Greece's economy was considered strong enough to absorb 30,000 to 35,000 returnees in the event of a sudden recession in Germany, but there was little interest in returnees. Conversely, the employers in the host country had no reason to feel responsible for preparing their workers for possible future self-employment in their home country, and there was a lack of targeted technical assistance. In many cases the guest workers stayed abroad because they had not been able to save enough money.
In exceptional cases, a company was founded with saved start-up capital or through cooperation in the form of a cooperative. Mention should be made of the Turkish workers' company Türksan , through which the capital generated in the host country was to be invested in the home country to create its own jobs and which - supported by the German and Turkish governments - ultimately led to the establishment of a carpet factory. However, other Turkish workers' associations (Türkyap, Türksal, Birsan) were less successful.
From November 28, 1983 to June 30, 1984, the Return Assistance Act temporarily granted the possibility of financial assistance on return. The returnees had to give up their pension entitlements - the employee's share was paid out, the employer's share remained with the pension fund. In addition, he was excluded from permanent residence in Germany by law.
Criticism of the policy approach
At the end of her archive study, Heike Knortz pointed out the lack of discussion and transparency during the political initiation of guest worker recruitment and its political consequences:
“Even if the early Federal Republic had not yet produced a truly liberal civil society before the social-liberal coalition came into power, which expressly wanted to“ dare to dare more democracy ”, the social consensus of the political actors is not only not sought, it is not even considered been. A foreign policy formulated under these framework conditions therefore lacked any critical counterweight in addition to the internal cabinet. It is also not evident from the files that the West German press filled this gap, as the Swiss newspapers seem to be the only ones to have regularly provided information on the foreign policy motives of the German recruitment agreements. Politicians had thus left the immigrants, at least partly out of foreign policy considerations, to a relatively unprepared public ... After all, all actors, including the countries of delivery and migrants themselves, initially only thought of a temporary stay in the Federal Republic. When reality had overtaken this assumption, the Federal Foreign Office, which until then had always claimed this policy area for itself, evaded its responsibility by admitting that it could no longer control the problems resulting from labor migration on its own - without, however, foregoing further recruitment agreements to want."
Criticism of the economic justification for recruiting guest workers
While the economic justification for recruitment from the labor shortage in German industry, developed in the 1960s and 1970s, was decisive for the public discourse for a long time, recent research shows that the main beneficiaries were companies in some branches of the economy. “From their point of view, guest workers expanded the labor supply, dampened the rise in wages and, with their low hourly wages, ensured that economic growth could be maintained with high profits. However, unprofitable companies could also be continued in this way. Investments in labor-saving machines were neglected. The structural change was postponed, and when it did set in, the jobs of foreigners were disproportionately affected. ”In the medium term, migration caused the German economy to experience weak growth.
Criticism of the social consequences
The guest workers who remained in Germany formed a permanent underclass in the labor and housing market. Even in old age they are overrepresented at the lower end of society and "receive significantly lower pensions than Germans, have an extremely high risk of poverty and live modestly."
"Workers were called and people came."
- How do you go to Germany as a worker?
- Hellas Express
- ARD program for foreigners
- Immigration from Turkey to the Federal Republic of Germany
For guest workers in other countries (Austria, Switzerland) and contract workers in the GDR, see: Chapter "Development of guest worker immigration" in the article "Guest workers"
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- cf. also Sabine Mannitz: The misunderstood integration. A long-term study among adolescents from immigrant families. Bielefeld 2006, ISBN 3-89942-507-3 , p. 9 ff.
- Karin Hunn: "We will return next year -": the history of the Turkish "guest workers" in the Federal Republic , Wallstein Verlag, 2005. ISBN 978-3-89244-945-4 . Pp. 167-168 .
- Heike Knortz: Diplomatic barter deals. “Guest workers” in West German diplomacy and employment policy 1953–1973. Böhlau Verlag, Cologne 2008, p. 225.
- Jutta Höhne, Benedikt Linden, Eric Seils, Anne Wiebel: The guest workers: history and current social situation In: boeckler.de , September 2014 (PDF; 143 kB)
- Martin Kröger: Initiative of the sending countries In: faz.net , June 23, 2008, accessed on September 18, 2018.