Integration of immigrants

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The integration of immigrants ( migrants ) is the process of social integration of immigrants or immigrants and, if applicable, their descendants.

Central aspects of social integration are above all language , education, the labor market, participation , values and identification within the target country. The topic includes both the affairs of individual immigrant people in their everyday life and socio-cultural phenomena in the host country as a whole. Gradual equality with other residents in terms of rights, duties and opportunities can also be included.

In the social discourse, it is often not only about the integration of the immigrants themselves (migrants of the first generation, "integration of foreigners" in the narrower sense), but also that of the next generation (s) who are mostly already naturalized or born as citizens, the "integration of People with a migration background ”or“ with a migration history ”. Special cases of group-specific integration are, for example, the integration of the linguistic, cultural or ethnic minorities who immigrated a long time ago ; this is referred to as the integration of minorities , overlapping with the integration of autochthonous (native) minorities . In the case of labor migration, there is also talk of the integration of foreign workers , especially those who decide to stay in the country of employment, as occurred in Europe, for example, in the guest worker issue in the mid-20th century.

A special case is the "integration of refugees", especially in the case of large refugee movements . In the case of refugees who are to be classified as refugees under the Geneva Refugee Convention , the situation in the respective host country is different in that there are generally certain international legal obligations for migrants that the host country must comply with with a view to the integration of refugees. In the course of the European refugee crisis, the debate about immigration, refugee and asylum policy, the integration of refugees and migrants in general, and the prospect of people with unexplained or temporary right of residence attracted more attention.

Some countries that traditionally even as immigration countries consider control has long been immigration targeted and demand-driven, about a point system , to regulate the cultural and economic integration and favor.


There is no clear definition of the term integration in science. In connection with migration, “integration” is usually understood to mean social integration ( social integration ), which is usually viewed in several dimensions.

Social integration vs. System integration

The integration of individual persons (both the integration related to immigrants and linguistic-cultural or ethnic minorities as well as the integration of other population groups, e.g. people with disabilities or people with a special sexual orientation) is expressed in forms of social integration , i.e. the integration of individuals Actors in an existing system. The opposite of integration is exclusion , also known as segregation in relation to groups . This is also called social integration (integration into society).

In contrast to social integration, the social sciences speak of system integration (integration of society) if it is about the cohesion of a social system as a whole, for example the cohesion of society as a whole. The opposite of (system) integration is called disintegration ; In the context of migration there is talk of ghettoization or a division of society into parallel societies .

Four dimensions of integration

Social integration has many aspects that are usually presented as dimensions. Like Friedrich Heckmann, Hartmut Esser distinguishes four dimensions:

  • the culturation / cultural integration; n: for the purposes of acquiring knowledge and skills , including language ,
  • the placement / structural integration : in particular in terms of educational participation and labor market participation,
  • the interaction / social integration: in terms of social relationships in everyday life,
  • the identification / identificatory integration : in the sense of a personal sense of belonging to society.

Cultural integration

Cultural integration takes place through the acquisition of competences that are necessary for communication and action in the host society. Values, norms, the legal system and attitudes of the host society are learned and internalized. This includes, above all, language acquisition. The formation of ethnic minority cultures would be the opposite of cultural integration. Diverging values ​​can arise in particular with regard to the issues of religious tolerance and equality and the roles of the sexes. The role of religion in the integration process is ambivalent. On the one hand, it provides support and, on the other hand, demarcation. Schools and teaching staff play an important role in cultural integration.

Structural integration

With the structural integration or placement is achieved when integrating indicators such as the distribution of educational attainment, unemployment and transfer expenditure ratios, etc. similar in the group of immigrants in the total population. The acquisition of rights goes hand in hand with the structural integration or placement . Time series data show a continuous improvement in structural integration, which sometimes takes several generations. Hartmut Esser points out that the placement is fundamental and without it it is difficult to have a social and emotional turn to the host society.

Social integration

Social integration takes into account the social contacts and group memberships of the individual. For example, club memberships, friendships and marriage behavior are considered. For the first generation of migrants, contacts to members of their own culture of origin are often dominant. Interethnic contacts arise particularly in the education system and on the labor market. Sports clubs are also often assigned a role that promotes integration. Participatory art projects that bring refugees and migrants together with communities of the host society are also considered to promote integration .

Contacts and relationships with members of the host society are very conducive to social integration, while being restricted to one's own ethnic-social group and the emergence of ethnic colonies is a considerable disadvantage. Below-average contact with networks in the host society has a negative effect on educational success and when looking for an apprenticeship or job.

Identificational integration

Identificatory integration is about the subjective feelings and the definition of a person's belonging to the cultural or national community. Friedrich Heckmann describes this as the "last stage of integration". The sociologist Wilhelm Heitmeyer emphasizes that it is important for integration that people perceive themselves as recognized. If immigrants feel they belong to both the host culture and the culture of origin, this is referred to as a hybrid identity .

Integration as an acculturation strategy

According to the Canadian migration researcher John W. Berry , integration is an acculturation strategy , i.e. a form of realization of how minorities (especially immigrants) behave towards the majority culture. Integration stands in opposition to the other acculturation strategies of assimilation , segregation and marginalization . When integrating , a migrant retains the characteristics of his or her culture of origin and at the same time maintains lively exchange relationships with the majority culture.

It is often reported that in Germany people with a foreign-sounding surname experience discrimination when looking for a job or when looking for accommodation . These are associated with racism or ethnic prejudice .


Group of people and phases

One can speak of three phases in integration, as the German Chancellor made clear in her speech at the 10th Integration Summit : there are phases from arrival, immigration to living together. Overall, according to the Chancellor, it is about initial integration, about inclusion, about access to education, training, the job market, sport, culture, media, about participation and about measures of anti-discrimination.

Phases of integration

The phases of integration were sometimes viewed as being divided into several "phases of integration" - for example (1.) language learning, (2.) structural placement in the education system and on the labor market, (3.) social integration and (4.) the emotional attachment to the host country. Such a rigid breakdown of integration is not empirically supported, and several attempts have been made to redefine phases of integration.

Integration of repatriates and repatriates

Although repatriates and ethnic German repatriates had and still have similar integration problems as foreign migrants and their descendants and although migration researcher Jannis Panagiotidis pleads for analyzing the development of Germans from Russia who immigrated to Germany after 1991 under the category of "post-Soviet migration", Many of those affected and their associations resist being viewed as “migrants”. This population group often has quick access to German citizenship and, in some cases, fluent German language skills even upon immigration.

Group-specific integration

Historically, such migrations, insofar as larger groups are concerned, have either developed into ethnic minorities ( segregation, ghettoization ) if certain basic socio-cultural factors such as mother tongue , religious affiliation or customs and traditions have been retained; Then ethnographic and demographic differences can persist over many generations, sometimes with permanent or at least in phases inadequate integration into the overall social structure, up to and including problems of oppression and persecution even after centuries of residence. In other cases , the descendants of the migrants assimilate into the cultural characteristics of a society by giving up their peculiarities until the traces of origin can only be found in highly stable identifying features such as the naming of the family name (if there is no complete assimilation, i.e., for example, the assumption of a native Name ) (language characteristics of the name formation, names of origin ). It is also possible for migrants to retain parts of their cultural origins and take on other aspects of the host society. In this case, John W. Berry uses the term integration (in opposition to assimilation , segregation and marginalization ).

In the theory of social disintegration , integration is understood as a successful relationship between freedom and attachment, whereby three dimensions are considered: the socio-structural , institutional and personal dimension. If integration fails and disintegration occurs, this leads to a loss of social cohesion and is ultimately the cause of violence.

Refugee integration

In the case of refugees under the Geneva Refugee Convention , the host country has certain obligations with regard to the integration of the refugee in all these phases. Particularly noteworthy here are: access to the labor market of the host country (Article 17), access to schooling (Article 22), public welfare (Article 23) and easier integration and naturalization (Article 34).

Facilitating the integration of refugees is also anchored in Article 34 of Directive 2011/95 / EU (Qualification Directive) as a state obligation.


Linguistic integration

The integration of immigrants includes the acquisition of the national language, both spoken and written. Language promotion offers are also used.

The importance of language support is emphasized, for example, in a draft for an integration law in Germany, which specifies the minimum requirements:

“The acquisition of the German language is a mandatory requirement for successful integration. This also applies to people who will only live in Germany for a short period of time. Because these people should also integrate for this short period of time and get to know and follow the social rules. For this they need knowledge of the German language. The earlier integration begins, the more successful it can be. Long periods of inactivity carry the risk that people's high level of motivation will be lost to nothing. Temporary integration is preferable to a time without integration. Only in the case of people from safe countries of origin does it seem justified to initially forego funding with the aim of integration due to the individually low likelihood of staying until the status is clarified. "

For the full integration of migrants and refugees who want to stay in the host country in the long term (or who are likely to stay), it is necessary to impart language skills to them that not only enable everyone to successfully take part in everyday conversations , but also those who are technically suitable for this at high school - and enable apprenticeships. This corresponds to at least level B 2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages . It is assumed that the acquisition of German as a second language, especially if it starts late, can take five to seven years to master the mother tongue, even under conditions of school support. Failure to master the educational language of the host country, d. H. the language of instruction in schools is a key obstacle to the full integration of migrants and refugees.

In some German federal states, Low German ( Low German) is taught as a school elective. Experience so far indicates that teaching in this language could also support the children of immigrants , as they would notice that students of German origin have to learn Low German just as they do themselves. Those who grew up bilingually benefit from an already acquired linguistic ability to reflect. Alternatively, children of immigrants can receive remedial instruction in German or in their mother tongue.

Linguists emphasize that mastering your own mother tongue is crucial for being able to learn a new language faster and better. They therefore also consider mother tongue teaching in schools to be essential. In addition, it is also about giving the pupil the opportunity to go back to their country of origin and work there. Foreigners should "under no circumstances speak German in a way that breaks the law , but stick to their mother tongue". One example of mother tongue teaching in schools is the mother tongue teaching in Sweden today. In Austria, mother tongue support is open to all pupils with a non-German mother tongue or bilingual pupils regardless of their citizenship. In North Rhine-Westphalia there is a range of courses in the most widely spoken languages ​​of origin for children with a history of immigration . A total of ten German federal states offer state-financed and organized Arabic lessons at their schools. Previously, there was also mother tongue supplementary lessons in Bavaria .

In Germany, language lessons are part of the integration course . The employment agency Westmecklenburg announced that of the 1497 registered participants for German courses offered for refugees in 2015/2016, only 716 had attended them until the end. The magazine “Fakt” of the Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk draws the conclusion that this quota should also apply to other employment agencies and that therefore a large part of the 300 million euros invested in German courses for refugees in 2016 has “fizzled out”. In March 2017, the Federal Audit Office complained that nationwide, "around the middle of the course, only 43 percent of the registered course participants were present."

In Austria, an integration agreement from 2003 stipulates that two years after entering the country, migrants should be able to demonstrate language skills at the A 2 competence level of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages .

Integration through education

Education is seen as "the key to participation in economic, cultural and social life".

The access of foreigners to vocational training depends on the residence status, as explained in more detail in the following section.

Integration into the labor market

Labor market integration is considered a crucial aspect of integration, since gainful employment serves to secure a livelihood. However, the legal requirements must be taken into account depending on the residence status .

In 2015, around 75 percent of immigrant EU citizens and immigrants from third countries with a residence permit for gainful employment were each gainfully employed. Among asylum seekers and refugees, the proportion was around 55 percent (as of mid-2015), and significantly lower in the short term.

In their book Die neue Deutschen , published in 2016, Herfried and Marina Münkler highlight the rapid integration of newcomers into the labor market and, more generally, the avoidance of passivity as the most important demands on German integration policy.

Since access to the labor market often fails due to a lack of recognition of foreign professional qualifications, the law to improve the determination and recognition of professional qualifications acquired abroad (so-called "Professional Recognition Act") came into force in 2012 .

In the triple-win project, foreign nurses and their employers in Germany are supported by the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) and the Central Foreign and Specialized Mediation (ZAV) of the Federal Employment Agency both in preparing for the stay abroad in Germany and in the On-site integration in Germany. This includes in particular help with visa applications and with the recognition of professional qualifications . The project is carried out on the basis of placement agreements between the ZAV and the employment services of certain partner countries.

The European Union supports member states in developing and strengthening their integration policies. Mention should be made of their New Skills Agenda and their action plan for the integration of third-country nationals. The first comprises ten key measures, including the “EU tool for the creation of skills profiles for third-country nationals” for the creation of skills profiles by organizations and authorities active in the fields of education, employment, migration and integration.

Professional integration of refugees

With regard to refugees, a distinction is made in Germany between asylum seekers , (recognized) refugees and tolerated persons . All recognized refugees are allowed to work; Asylum seekers and tolerated persons must first wait for a period of 3 months and obtain the consent of the employment agency before they can accept a job. However, measures within the vocational training or z. B. Internships excluded. Asylum seekers with a residence permit are subject to a temporary absolute prohibition to work in accordance with Section 61 (2) AsylG ; after the ban on work has expired, the priority check may have to be observed. Tolerated persons can also be allowed to take up employment for the duration of the acquiescence .

According to an OECD study, over 70 percent of highly qualified refugees in Germany are not employed according to their qualifications, more than in all other European countries (as of 2016). Refugees looking for work are not necessarily considered unemployed. In January 2017, only 40% of the refugees registered as jobseekers with the Federal Employment Agency were registered as unemployed. Everyone who is looking for a job as an employee and who reports to the BA is classified as “looking for work”, but those who are not immediately available to the labor market - for example because they are attending a language and integration course, an internship, further training or a labor market measures such as As a work opportunity participates or a prohibition of employment subject - is not considered unemployed.

In efforts to integrate young refugees , especially in the phase of the strongest immigration during the refugee crisis in Germany 2015/2016, there were often disappointments both on the part of the refugees and on the part of social actors who are trying to integrate them. 11% of the refugees had no schooling at all, and the young people's expectations of being able to enter professional life quickly or to complete an apprenticeship sometimes turned out to be an illusion.

A nationwide employer initiative is expressly aimed at the group of “refugees with good prospects to stay”. On the basis of Section 69 of the Vocational Training Act, they are given the opportunity (in addition to " old applicants ", long-term unemployed and employees in a workshop for disabled people ) to acquire partial qualifications in various modules that are related to recognized training occupations . However, many training courses require a relatively high level of language skills.

In general, however, employer-related circles are of the opinion that the level of education (not just the level of language skills) of refugees has long been “glossed over” and that placing most of them on the primary labor market requires a lot of work. Further problems from the employer's point of view arise when hired refugees are deported and as a result manpower is lost at short notice.

In Austria, unrestricted access to the labor market is only possible for recognized refugees or persons entitled to subsidiary protection.

Integration through participation in public life

Participation in public life, including local public transport, is a factor in integration . As part of the refugee crisis refugees were partly in projects of the Transport Training familiar pedestrians and cyclists with the German traffic regulations.

The Federal Ministry of Family Affairs assigns migrant self-organizations a "bridge function" in integration.

Integration through sport

Sports clubs are said to play a particularly integration-promoting role, as intercultural social contacts are almost naturally established and consolidated. Sport is the most popular leisure activity in Germany for people with a migration background - as well as for people without a migration background. Sports clubs, however, do not automatically have an integrative effect. For example, institutional barriers such as inertia, traditional ties and efforts to achieve homogeneity by sports clubs inhibit their fundamental openness. People with a migration background are less likely to be members of sports clubs in Germany than people without a migration background. According to a study carried out in Switzerland, a name that sounds foreign, but also a name that is typical for a different language region in your own country, can be an obstacle to being accepted into a sports club.

With the program Integration through Sport, the German Olympic Sports Confederation is committed to integration into society as well as to integration within the structures of organized sport.

Political participation

Immigrant foreigners mostly receive a right to (full) political participation through naturalization . Within the EU, however, foreigners also have a (limited) political say (see foreigners' right to vote and vote ); in addition, they can usually take part in national elections in their country of origin. Citizens can also be excluded from elections: for example, Great Britain does not grant its expatriates who have lived abroad for more than 15 years the right to vote in national elections, although this rule is repeatedly up for political debate.


As President of the German Bundestag, Wolfgang Thierse repeatedly emphasized that immigrants are not required to deny their cultural origins. But he must accept the basic values ​​of the constitution and the democratic rules. At the same time he emphasized the importance of learning the national language.

In his review of Emilia Smechowski's book Wir Strebermigranten , Harry Nutt emphasizes above all the importance of the “ experience of social advancement , which has always been the greatest engine of social integration in modern societies”.

Other aspects of integration

Diversity in companies and institutions

In companies, cost-benefit considerations come into play when dealing with national and ethnic diversity.

There are also funding programs that aim to promote integration in the labor market. The German federal government supports the integration of people with a migration background into the labor market with the funding program Integration through Qualification .

In connection with diversity management , human rights organizations on the one hand and companies on the other hand sometimes mention the endeavor to take more measures to promote equality for migrants in the world of work, to raise awareness of discrimination and to promote the acceptance of diversity.

Closing the “socialization gap” of older migrants

The proportion of 65-year-olds and older people in the migrant population in Germany is expected to increase from 8.4 percent (in 2007) to 15.1 percent by 2032, and the absolute number of older people with a migration background will probably increase from approx. 1.4 million (in 2007) to increase to around 3.6 million (in 2032).

A fundamental problem facing people who are leaving working life is that they can experience a “socialization gap”. "Vergesellschaftung" is understood by Wolfgang Clemens as a process "in which people are encouraged to act, challenged and thus engaged by social structures and programs". For retirees, social integration no longer takes place through gainful employment, but is limited to socialization through family, social networks, leisure and consumption. In contrast to all other age groups, society does not have typical regulations for (old) age (such as attending kindergarten and school, vocational training and exercising as well as caring for one's own children), but age must be individually designed.

After leaving gainful employment, integration deficits worsen for many people with a migrant background, especially since with an average low old-age income, chances of participation through consumption are greatly reduced. According to a study from 2013, 41.5 percent of people over 65 with foreign citizenship in Germany are at risk of poverty (13.3 percent of their German citizenship peers).

From 2007 to 2009, the AAMEE project ( Active Aging of Migrant Elders across Europe) of the Ministry of Health, Emancipation, Care and Age of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia dealt with the situation of aging people with a migration background . In the same year, the German Ministry for Family, Seniors, Women and Youth summarized the situation of older people with a migration background in Germany:

  • Regarding the decommissioning of old age, it can be said that older migrants give up their work more often than Germans;
  • Age feminization does not apply as men are more frequently represented than women in the 40 to 60 age group and those aged 60 and over; this surplus of men results from the recruitment policy of the 1960s / 70s;
  • this has consequences for the singularization of age;
  • older migrants live more often than Germans of the same age in one-person households;
  • Very old age among migrants is still rare, but its share is increasing; In addition, the poor initial health conditions and the lower level of economic compensation resources lead to a higher and earlier need for help and care.

Counterproductive with regard to the integration of migrants is, according to the ministry, "a revival of ethnicity in old age".

Gender aspects

As Terre des Femmes points out, numerous girls living in Germany are also at risk of genital mutilation . The procedure is usually carried out by women from their home country, and only rarely or not at all in Germany, but rather during a home vacation or in other European cities such as Paris or Amsterdam. Currently (as of mid-2017) 58,000 women are affected in Germany and a further 13,000 are at risk, significantly more than a year earlier with 48,000 affected and 9,000 at risk. In Germany, female genital mutilation has been a criminal offense since 2013 and a foreign criminal offense since 2015 .

Male circumcision, on the other hand, is not illegal in Germany if it is carried out by a doctor under general anesthesia with the consent of the parents ( Section 1631d (1) BGB); if the newborn is less than 6 months old, the person performing the work can also be a person with special training designated by a religious community (Section 1631d (2) BGB). The question of the circumcision of sons also arises in some mixed-cultural families and possibly touches on questions of religious and cultural identity.

The forced marriage affects many more girls and women than boys and men; in honor killings there are slightly more female than male victims. In everyday life, Islamic girls and women may find themselves confronted with the problem of body covering or clothing (see also: Burkini , headscarf dispute ).

Access to social benefits

Entitlements that were acquired as part of payments into the social security system in one country - for example pension entitlements acquired through contribution periods - can be transferred to another country depending on the international agreement (for example, benefits from the German statutory pension insurance scheme for which an entitlement has been acquired will also be transferred paid abroad ).

On the other hand, in general, immigrants' access to welfare state benefits may be restricted. Such restrictions also apply to EU citizens entering the EU . According to the economist Hans-Werner Sinn , such a restriction of the principle of inclusion is inevitable if, on the one hand, the welfare state and freedom of movement within the EU are to be maintained, but, on the other hand, artificial incentives for migration are to be avoided.

Social and political context

Immigration is related to the emergence of ethnic , national , linguistic and religious minorities .

From an economic point of view, migration is also seen in connection with demographic development and a possible shortage of skilled workers . Among other things, there is talk of brain gain on the one hand and the social and economic costs of integration on the other.

Cross-national studies

The Migrant Integration Policy Index is used to evaluate the integration policy for migrants in all EU countries and three other non-EU countries on the basis of fixed criteria.

Integration monitoring

Since 2011, a cross-border evaluation of the status of integration of people with a migration background in the federal states has been presented every two years in Germany as part of the conference of integration ministers.

Various integration reports prepared in Germany differ considerably in the number of indicators, the dimensions or areas of the studies and the data sources; Among other things, the microcensus is evaluated for this purpose . In connection with data surveys on the status of integration, on the one hand a risk of “ ethnicization ” of the integration debate, but on the other hand also a need for more meaningful surveys is emphasized. For example, Susanne Worbs, research assistant at the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees , cites the following distinctions used in integration monitoring:

  • People with and without a migration background (occasionally: people with a migration background and the general population).
  • Foreign and German citizens. A special case of this is the comparison of naturalized persons with foreigners of the same group of origin.
  • First generation (born abroad) and second generation (born in Germany); alternatively, a differentiation according to age groups.
  • Men and women.
  • Selected countries or regions of origin. This differentiation is the most controversial, among other things because it is feared that it would encourage an "ethnicization" of the integration debate ".

But Worbs also emphasizes:

“Integration monitoring loses its meaningfulness significantly if it only refers to large heterogeneous groups such as 'foreigners' or 'people with a migration background'. In order to avoid this, it would make sense to make statements at least about the most important groups of origin and combine this with an analysis of socio-demographic factors , milieu and / or social class affiliations . "

As part of the Austrian National Integration Plan Integration (NAP.I), Heinz Fassmann presented 25 integration indicators that are intended to map the integration process and the status of integration in Austria. There are 24 statistically measurable indicators as well as a subjective indicator that can be collected using surveys.

Section 21 of the Austrian Integration Act requires the Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs to set up integration monitoring and provides a framework for this.


On the one hand, integration requires the will of immigrants to integrate. On the other hand, prerequisites are also required on the part of the society around them - such as the willingness to evaluate immigration positively or at least to tolerate the presence of “undesirable” groups of immigrants and to appreciate it when immigrants show a will to integrate.

Shmuel N. Eisenstadt , who examined the adaptation process of immigrants in Israel and tried to draw general principles from it, speaks of the adaptation of the individual and of absorption into the host society. According to Eisenstadt, the social and societal adaptation of individuals depends crucially on the host society granting them opportunities for adaptation in the sense of social interaction and participation. According to Eisenstadt, adaptation comprises three aspects: “Learning and mastering social roles in different areas of society; building stable social relationships with members of the local population; the establishment and maintenance of a positive identification with the new social structure and its value system ”.

Today, integration is referred to as the socialization of the individual, and in the case of children and young people also of upbringing or enculturation . This can also result in a hybrid culture ( see : Acculturation and Migration as well as Third Culture Kid ).

Integration as an individual service

If immigrants show willingness and ability to integrate, this is often rated positively by the authorities as well as by their fellow human beings. A prerequisite, however, is a benevolent attitude, which is shown on the one hand in the legal regulations and their implementation, and on the other hand in social interaction.

Certain integration services can bring tangible benefits. For example, certain integration services are required for issuing a settlement permit or for a permit for permanent EU residence . The residence permit for well-integrated tolerated persons should also be mentioned in particular: on this basis, young people in particular can receive a residence permit after six years with appropriate integration.

Furthermore, according to Section 10 (3) sentence 2 of the StAG, the minimum period of eight years of legal residence required for a right to naturalization can be shortened to six years if special integration achievements can be proven. This includes, in particular, proof of German language skills that exceed “sufficient knowledge” (according to Section 10 Paragraph 1 Clause 1 Number 6 StAG). The existence of special integration achievements is more precisely defined in the provisional application notes of the Federal Ministry of the Interior to the Nationality Act , number 10.3.1: “The prerequisite is the existence of special integration achievements. This includes German language skills, which must exceed the requirement of sufficient language skills and should therefore be at level B2 GER or higher. Other special integration services include: B. a longer voluntary activity with a non-profit organization or an association into consideration. When making the discretionary decision , an overall view must be made in each individual case, in which several benefits together can only justify privileged naturalization. "

In general, a lack of willingness to integrate is cited as a reason for sanctions against “those who refuse to integrate ”.

Since 2009 there has been the possibility of a residence permit for well-integrated tolerated persons , with extensions from 2011 and 2015. This does not mean that all well-integrated persons have a right to stay . In Germany, this topic comes into the media especially when, for example, neighbors and friends, company and colleagues or teachers and classmates approach the public to counter the threat of deportation of a well-integrated, previously tolerated person or family. In particular, the removal of students from the classroom meets with criticism. The resistance from schoolchildren met with media interest when a young person in Duisburg and a young adult in Nuremberg were taken out of school for deportation in May 2017. Teachers explained that the school had to be a shelter so that children could feel safe and learn without stress. Bavarian teachers protested in an open letter against participating in deportations. The Education and Science Union (GEW) and the Police Union (GdP) also criticized deportations from school on this occasion. The criticism of the deportation of 69 Afghans from Germany on July 4, 2018 , emphasized that some of the deportees were well integrated. In this context, the refugee organization Pro Asyl emphasized that when assessing individual cases by the hardship commission of the respective federal state, it is also taken into account whether the affected persons are well integrated and have a job.

The editor-in-chief of Die Welt , Ulf Poschardt , believes that Germany will only remain stable if integration succeeds. The immigrant has the task of positively highlighting himself: “The idea of ​​immigration must be to show it to everyone in the existing society. To be particularly hard-working, committed and successful in order to present the otherness to the receiving societies less as a flaw than as a promise. "

State and society

Mutual agreements

Some states provide integration agreements that on the one hand provide for obligations, for example with regard to the acquisition of language skills or participation in integration courses , and in return are linked to better conditions in terms of cash benefits or residence rights. Integration agreements have existed in Austria since 2003 and in Switzerland since 2007.

In France, a voluntary integration contract ( Contrat d'accueil et d'intégration , CAI) was introduced in a pilot test in twelve departments in 2003 and extended to all of France in 2006; in July 2016 it was replaced by the Contrat d'intégration républicaine (CIR). It is not mandatory for immigrants to sign the contract, but if it is signed it is binding; Anyone who decides against the contract must expect disadvantages when issuing a permanent residence title.

In Germany, agreements have been proposed at federal or state level. For certain people, there is an obligation to participate in the integration course , the fulfillment of which is associated, for example, with services according to SGBII . In addition, voluntary integration agreements are used in migration counseling for adult immigrants .

Social debate

There are various theses as to how a society shaped by migration is shaped . In a multicultural society , it is assumed that people of different nationalities , languages , religions and ethnicities can live together peacefully and that different cultures , traditions , lifestyles and / or ideas of values and ethics can be preserved.

In the cultural mainstreaming approach , cultural diversity is seen as a resource. According to this approach, when making changes, the effects on the living environment of people with a migration background should always be taken into account. Both the adjustment of the immigrants and changes in the majority society may become necessary.

But there are also perspectives that consider these ideas to be unrealistic or wrong. In her book Der Multikulti- Errtum, published in 2007 , Seyran Ateş argued for a “ transcultural society ” in which immigrants are at home in at least two cultures, both in their culture of origin and in the culture of their host society . In the case of irreconcilable differences between the two cultures, however, the culture of the host society takes precedence. The political scientist Bassam Tibi wrote in 2001: “Integration requires being able to give an identity. A leading culture belongs to every identity! ”The term leading culture has been used in the social debate ever since. This term is also associated with the concept of a “ free democratic basic order ” which is customary in constitutional case law .

With regard to the value base of a plural society, scientific and social disputes are sparked by the question of the extent to which religious value systems make integration easier or more difficult. There is even disagreement about the importance and weighting of this question.

According to the German political scientist Stefan Luft, the integration of immigrants requires “integration- political realism beyond multiculturalism and cultural pessimism”.

The evaluation of integration and especially migration is accompanied by harsh social debates. According to the Leipzig Authoritarianism Study (2018), 35% of Germans partially or fully agree with the thesis that "foreigners only come to Germany to take advantage of the welfare state". 35% also partially or completely reject the thesis, 30% are undecided. Local debates occur again and again, especially when it comes to setting up refugee accommodation.

Moral concepts

Immigrants and members of the host society hardly differ in their assessment of basic community values ​​such as "respect for human life", "respect for other religions and cultures", "appreciation of peace, democracy, solidarity, justice", "respect for law, Order and rule of law ". These values ​​are each considered important by around 90 percent.

Muslims have slightly lower approval ratings for topics of gender equality: Around 17% of Muslims in Germany have "views that are at least partially disadvantageous to women" (for Christians in Germany the figure is 11%). Immigrants with very low formal educational qualifications are less likely to vote for equal opportunities for men and women.

Security situation and prevention of radicalization

In the course of the European refugee crisis , in view of the large number of refugees and migrants and incidents such as numerous racist attacks on refugee homes and sexual assaults on New Year's Eve 2015/16, a debate began on how societal management of immigration and integration was. After a series of attacks and assassinations in July 2016, there were political discussions, on the one hand primarily with regard to the prevention of radicalization and terrorist attacks, in particular through Islamist terrorism , and on the other hand with regard to the everyday occurrence of certain crimes, such as grabbing at crowds and sexual harassment in outdoor swimming pools.

Marwan Abou-Taam, an Islamic scholar who works for the Rhineland-Palatinate State Criminal Police Office, considers the third generation of Muslim immigrants, who have been rejected by both their parents and the German majority, to be prone to extremism . In France there is an ongoing discussion about the causes of the emergence of parallel societies and radicalization in the suburbs - the so-called banlieues . The social scientist Gilles Kepel told the Neue Zürcher Zeitung in 2012 that, given the situation in the suburbs, a “quantum leap in education policy” was necessary, which would give all school leavers at least a real chance to find work. In 2016, he told the Tages-Anzeiger that the “poorly integrated, unemployed Muslim youth in the French suburbs” represented recruiting potential for jihadism . The Islam researcher Olivier Roy , however, expressed the thesis after the attacks in Brussels in March 2016 that radicalization was not a result of failed integration; young men would make a radical break with their parents' generation and consider themselves' better 'Muslims than their parents. There is also a “fascination with suicide” and “ violent fantasies ” among young people.

economic aspects

Between 2005 and 2013, the federal government in Germany spent over 1.4 billion euros on the system of integration courses.

In 2016, the federal government said it spent around 21.7 billion euros to deal with the refugee crisis, including 2.1 billion euros for integration services. A study by the Center for European Economic Research (ZEW) on behalf of the Heinrich Böll Foundation spoke of around 400 billion euros in additional costs or 20 billion euros in additional government income, depending on how (labor) integration succeeds. However, according to Clemens Fuest , President of the Ifo Institute, the total costs and income resulting from the refugee crisis can “hardly be reliably quantified”.

In the 2017 federal budget , around 610 million euros were earmarked for the implementation of integration courses in accordance with the IntV.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) underlined the importance of integration in a guideline at the beginning of 2016 and emphasized at the same time that it should “not happen at the expense of supporting other disadvantaged groups - including already resident migrants and their children”. In this guide she made ten recommendations, which are reproduced here in full:

  1. Offer activation and integration measures as soon as possible to humanitarian immigrants and asylum seekers with high prospects of staying .
  2. Facilitate access to the labor market for asylum seekers with good prospects of staying.
  3. Take employment prospects into account when distributing.
  4. Record and assess qualifications, professional experience and skills of refugees acquired abroad.
  5. Take into account the increasing heterogeneity of humanitarian immigrants and develop needs-based approaches.
  6. Recognize mental and physical illnesses early on and offer appropriate help.
  7. Develop support programs for unaccompanied minors who are no longer of school age upon arrival.
  8. Involve civil society in the integration of humanitarian immigrants.
  9. Promote equal access to integration services for humanitarian migrants across the country.
  10. Take into account that the integration of very low-skilled humanitarian migrants requires long-term training and support measures.

Individual states


Recruitment Policy Assuming Return

Europa series: Integration of migrants from the perspective of young people. German postage stamp, 2006

The population of Turkish origin in Germany is one of the largest groups of immigrants and their descendants . Turks, Poles and Italians (2015 with around 1.5 million, 0.7 million and 0.6 million) are most strongly represented among the foreign population . (See also: Immigration to Germany .)

From the end of the war until 1950, over 8 million displaced persons in the FRG and almost four million in the GDR were not counted as immigrants . In the GDR these displaced persons - also known as “resettlers” - made up almost a quarter of the population, and especially in rural areas they initially experienced exclusion and decline. By the time the Berlin Wall was built in 1961, there were also over 4.3 million emigrants from the GDR to the FRG and almost 400,000 emigrants from the FRG to the GDR. The GDR refugees integrated themselves into the FRG without developing an identity as a group, and they had German citizenship from the start. Since 1950 around 4.5 million (late) repatriates have been admitted. From 1955 to 1973 about 14 million guest workers came to the Federal Republic; about 11 million returned home.

In post-war Germany, the integration of foreign immigrants was not part of the political discourse for a long time. This was based on the assumption that the guest workers, mostly employed as unskilled workers , would return to their homeland after a few years. Migration researcher Olaf Kleist emphasizes that when guest workers were recruited in the 1960s, “a certain ghetto formation was partly wanted. There were special school classes for the children of guest workers. Integration should be prevented because it was always assumed that the guest workers only stayed in Germany temporarily. ”And in the GDR, the contract workers lived clearly separated from the citizens.

The assumption that most guest workers would return, however, turned out to be false over time. Integration policy has gained in importance in Germany since around 2005.

The guest workers from Turkey had been recruited for unskilled and semi-skilled jobs and, in both the first and second generation, showed below-average knowledge of German, extremely limited friendship networks to their own ethnic group and the worst integration into the labor market. On the other hand, there was a flight from Iran by elites with a high level of education and relatively little religiousness. Most of them are well integrated. The social origin of the parents is therefore decisive for the success of integration.

Integration policy since around 2005

In a publication by the Federal Agency for Civic Education in 2012, the status of integration was described as "[t] rotz of the National Integration Plan from 2007 [..] not satisfactory", as there are still significant differences between people with and without a migration background. Even well-qualified foreign workers were more likely to be affected by unemployment and lower labor force participation than the corresponding groups without a migration background. It is emphasized that the integration policy in Germany is now similar to the policy of other Western European countries, but that Germany took this step very late.

Today the Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI) describes the “integration of immigrants living legally and permanently in Germany” as “one of the most important domestic political tasks”, both in terms of granting rights and observing obligations. The Federal Ministry of the Interior had previously emphasized the guideline “Promote and Demand”, in the tradition of activating social policy , as it has been practiced in Germany, especially since Agenda 2010 .

According to a recent study by the Foundation for Future Issues - an initiative by British American Tobacco - in 2017 only 16 percent of citizens assume that the integration of foreigners and refugees will be easier than before. For the year 2030, on the other hand, almost twice as many of the respondents (30%) expect the situation to improve - especially those under 29 years of age (34%).

In 2005 the term “integration” was used for the first time in migration policy legislation in the Immigration Act . In this context, today's integration courses were introduced.

However, the role of the right of expulsion in relation to integration was already discussed in the justification for the new version of the Aliens Act of 1990. The legislature stated that the right of expulsion creates clarity about the possible reasons for the termination of residence and thus enables foreigners “to structure their stay in the federal territory in such a way that they do not offer any reason to terminate their stay.” The expulsion right is therefore “a - reasonable - Basis of integration ", because" [if] he stays within the limits of the reasons for expulsion is protected from expulsion. "

In 2005, in addition to the previously customary distinction between foreigners and Germans , the microcensus was the first to classify people with German citizenship in order to investigate the migration of immigrants and the subsequent generation: Since then, the microcensus has differentiated between people with regard to their migration status and possible migration of their parents after 1949 in people with and without a migration background . According to the BiB, the background to this demarcation was "the question of the need for integration and the actual integration of people who have German citizenship but still have a migration background (for example resettlers, naturalized persons, children of foreign parents)". With its definition, the BiB already contradicted the claim in 2005 that repatriates and ethnic German repatriates are not migrants and should therefore not be included in studies on the subject of migration.

Asylum policy

Asylum seekers are initially subject to severe restrictions with regard to their integration: a work ban , compulsory central accommodation in refugee accommodation and the obligation to reside . Such regulations are contrary to the interests of society and the individual in terms of integration, but are aimed at reducing incentives (“ pull factors ”) for seeking asylum in Germany.

The regulations governing access to the labor market for refugees have changed considerably over time. The Geneva Refugee Convention does not provide any guidelines on this. Asylum seekers were systematically granted work permits from 1971 onwards, although the priority check was not carried out. After the recruitment stop in 1973, refugees were banned from working, which was partially relaxed in 1975 in order to relieve the municipalities financially. From the beginning of the 1980s, the Federal Employment Agency no longer granted asylum seekers any work permits during the first year of the asylum procedure; from 1982 this was valid for two years. Baden-Württemberg (from 1982) and Bavaria (from 1985) issued asylum seekers a general work ban for the duration of their asylum procedure. In 1985/86 work bans for a period of five years were introduced. In the course of the refugee policy after reunification , this ban was gradually reduced to one year in the course of 1991, then lifted, reintroduced in 1992 and set for three months and further tightened in 1993. As part of the Blüm Decree , which was later described in the case law as unconstitutional and then withdrawn, asylum seekers were not given any work permits from 1997 to the end of 2000 on the grounds of high unemployment; later work access was made possible again on the basis of a priority check and condition check. Access to the labor market was newly regulated in 2005 with the Immigration Act.

An express, reference date-dependent "right of residence regulation" for factually integrated foreigners was introduced by the resolution of the Conference of Interior Ministers of November 17, 2006 and, on August 28, 2007, was specified and supplemented by statutory regulations linked to the reference date of July 1, 2007 ( § 104a and § 104b Residence Act). Later they were supplemented by regulations that are dynamic, i. H. are not tied to any fixed reference date: On January 1, 2009 ( Section 18a of the Residence Act) and additionally on July 1, 2011 ( Section 25a of the Residence Act) and August 1, 2015 ( Section 25b of the Residence Act), regulations for a residence permit for well-integrated tolerated persons and introduced their children.

Further developments in the course of the refugee crisis from 2015

The issue of integration in German politics was particularly explosive in 2015 in the wake of the refugee crisis .

When the Asylum Procedure Acceleration Act came into force on October 24, 2015, integration courses were also opened for asylum seekers and tolerated persons, provided they had good prospects to stay . Refugee associations, however, criticized the different approaches to integration courses depending on the prospect of staying: Pro Asyl expressed the opinion that this sorting in many cases ensures "that the integration of people who will stay permanently in Germany is unnecessarily delayed".

In December 2015, the SPD politicians Manuela Schwesig , Andrea Nahles , Barbara Hendricks , the Minister of State for Integration Aydan Özoguz and Malu Dreyer presented a twelve-point plan for cohesion and integration in Germany. The integration concept was focused on education as a key to integration and participation, and saw, among other 10,000 additional jobs in the Federal Voluntary Service with respect refugees , 80,000 additional Kita courts, 20,000 additional teachers provide and all-day schools Offensive ago. In terms of labor market integration, refugees should simultaneously take part in language courses and measures for entry into the labor market, qualifications should be faster and less bureaucratic and 100,000 additional job opportunities should be created in the context of refugee aid. Funding for residential construction for 350,000 new apartments was also planned. In response to a request from the Greens, the Federal Government described this integration concept in January 2016 as a “political position paper” that the Federal Government did not have to comment on. Katja Dörner assessed the presentation of this plan in retrospect as a "pure show event".

At the end of 2015, the Federal Voluntary Service with reference to refugees ( Section 18 BFDG ) was introduced and the BFD was provided with 10,000 additional positions limited to three years. Since 2016, some federal states have been offering legal education lessons for refugees in addition to the integration course .

In May 2016 the federal government passed a draft for an integration law. After changes, the Integration Act was passed in July 2016 , which among other things includes a residence requirement for recognized refugees, the requirement of integration benefits for a settlement permit, a partial waiver of the priority test , an expansion of the orientation courses and a tolerance for the duration of the training and possibly another two Years. Most of it came into force on August 6, 2016.

In the course of the refugee crisis in Germany from 2015 onwards , there were increased social disputes about Islam and Islamism , for example with reference to Sharia law in contemporary western states and the role of women .

Repeated attempts have been made to define more precisely what integration means and what its requirements are. For example, Federal Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière declared that refugees not only have to recognize the Basic Law in order to integrate , but also have to get involved in German society. For this, the commitment to non-violent coexistence is just as important as understanding the Holocaust .

It is reported from the refugee shelters that religious minorities such as Yazidis and Christians are harassed and insulted as infidels by Muslim refugees.

Stefan Luft also refers to norms of masculinity that legitimize violence, a high willingness to use violence and a high level of violence, which can be a great challenge for teachers and police officers and even overwhelming, with which they must not be left alone.

A structural problem is that decisions about which refugee has a right to stay take a relatively long time. During this period, it cannot be prevented (even by state organs) that those who are well able and willing to integrate make progress in integrating into German society. Such progress continues even when a person who is actually obliged to leave the country cannot de facto be deported, mainly because his citizenship cannot be proven or because the country of which he is a citizen does not want to accept him. If the German state organs finally “manage” to deport the person concerned, they are often torn out of a network of relationships in which they are needed (also from the perspective of Germans). This process appears to critics as a “refusal to integrate from above”.

With regard to refugee policy, Pro Asyl criticized plans for anchor centers in 2018 , as the isolation in such centers hampers the integration of those who would stay in Germany.


With a population of less than 40,000, people from over 100 different nations live in Liechtenstein. The proportion of foreigners in Liechtenstein in 2010 was 33%, below that of Monaco (78%), Andorra (64%) and Luxembourg (43%). Foreigners work in two-thirds of the jobs, and most of them are commuters. Every year, Liechtenstein only issues 72 residence permits to EEA citizens and 17 to Swiss citizens. Liechtenstein has negotiated an exception to the free movement of persons prescribed for other EEA countries , which enables the country to set such quotas for immigration. However, EEA nationals with a residence permit have the right to full family reunification and EU citizens can stay in Liechtenstein for three months without having to register.

Integration is a concern for society as a whole in Liechtenstein, and the efforts to guarantee a conscious and careful approach to diversity and diversity there are aimed at all members of society: at newcomers and locals.

The principles of integration are laid down in Section 6 of the Foreign Nationals Act (AuG), the requirement of language learning in Section 5 of the Law on Freedom of Movement for EEA and Swiss Nationals (PFZG), and education funding in Sections 1, 44 and 58 of the Vocational Training Act (BBG ) and in Sections 1 and 16 to 24 of the Education Act and the ordinance on teaching in the local language, which provides for the promotion of school-age children of migrant workers in their mother tongue and in regional studies.

In 2007 the government passed a policy paper on Liechtenstein's integration policy and in 2010 an integration concept entitled “Integration - Strength through Diversity”. In the policy paper of 2007 a “conscious and careful handling of differences and diversity” was called for. The integration concept comprised five guiding principles:

  1. Use potential - resource-oriented (overcome the “deficit approach”), focus on school education and awareness-raising in families
  2. Living diversity - in the sense of diversity
  3. Enable participation and promote cohesion - with the gradual achievement of equal opportunities and equal opportunities in the education system, with a further opening up of voluntary work for foreigners and based on "intercultural cities"
  4. Taking responsibility together - to ensure long-term quality of life
  5. Promote multilingualism - with German as the immigrants' “personal adoptive language”.

A model by Kenan Güngör (referring to Friedrich Heckmann and Hartmut Esser ) is used as the integration model , with the successive stages of structural, social, cultural and identificative integration. In 2010, the government drafted an integration concept based on the principle of promoting and demanding, with five guiding principles that were closely related to the five guiding principles set out earlier. However, its implementation stalled from 2012, due to austerity and restructuring. Calls and recommendations for reforms spoke u. a. the Council of Europe's Commission against Racism and Intolerance of (ECRI). In particular, they concerned strengthening the political participation of foreign residents, abolishing voting by community residents as a regular procedure for naturalization, and improving school and professional integration. The Human Rights Council and ECRI also cited steps against racial discrimination, discrimination and extremism.


The National Action Plan for Integration (NAP.I), adopted by the Council of Ministers on January 19, 2010, includes measures to promote the integration of migrants, EU citizens and people who are not native speakers of German, as well as those entitled to asylum and subsidiary protection . Since the beginning of 2016, Austria's nationwide integration strategy has been defined by the 50-point integration plan , which includes 50 measures for the integration of recognized refugees and those entitled to subsidiary protection.

On March 28, 2017, the Council of Ministers passed the Integration Act , which has the main goal of promoting and demanding integration. In this law, integration is described as a process that involves society as a whole, which requires “a coordinated approach by the various state and civil society actors” and “an active contribution from every single person in Austria within the scope of their own possibilities” (Section 2 IntG).

The integration law provides u. a. a consistent and binding system for German and values ​​courses by means of a mandatory declaration of integration as well as a nationwide uniform integration test and higher quality standards. In addition, on the same day it passed the Integration Year Act , which provides for a mandatory standardized integration program from September 2017 - the "Integration Year" - for persons entitled to asylum, for persons entitled to subsidiary protection and for asylum seekers with a high probability of recognition. As part of this program, you are obliged to engage in charitable work and, as part of the program, you will receive a competence assessment as well as German and values ​​courses.

Asylum seekers who have been admitted to the asylum procedure for at least 3 months may be employed in private households for typical household services by means of a service check.


In Switzerland, the integration of foreigners is regulated in Article 4 of the Federal Act on Foreign Nationals (AuG):

  1. The aim of integration is the coexistence of the local and foreign residents on the basis of the values ​​of the Federal Constitution and mutual respect and tolerance.
  2. The integration is intended to enable legally present foreign nationals to participate in the economic, social and cultural life of society over the long term.
  3. Integration requires both the corresponding will of foreigners and the openness of the Swiss population.
  4. It is necessary that foreigners deal with the social and living conditions in Switzerland and, in particular, learn a national language.

According to Article 2 of the Ordinance on the Integration of Foreigners (VIntA), the goal of integration is equal opportunities for foreigners to participate in Swiss society. According to Article 5 VIntA, the contribution of foreigners to their integration is shown in particular:

a. in respect of the rule of law and the values ​​of the Federal Constitution;
b. in learning the national language spoken at place of residence;
c. in dealing with living conditions in Switzerland;
d. in the will to participate in economic life and to acquire education.

The authorities take into account the integration according to Article 3 VIntA in their discretion regarding the early granting of the permanent residence permit .

Integration into the community is also taken into account during naturalization . On the basis of the Civil Rights Ordinance of June 17, 2016, nationwide integration criteria for those seeking naturalization have existed since January 1, 2018.

Other states

In the Netherlands , an integration law (wet inburgering) has made a compulsory test for certain immigrants since 2007, which tests knowledge of the Dutch language, society and certain aspects of the labor market and must be taken after three and a half or five years. Another law (wet inburgering in het buitenland) stipulates similar provisions for people living abroad who wish to immigrate . Failure to pass the test has financial consequences. A law that came into force in 2013 (wet inburgering 2013) shortens the time to the test to three years and also stipulates that immigrants themselves have to pay for the preparation and the costs of the test; however, there is the possibility of obtaining a loan for it. Up to and including May 2016, however, 47,000 of the 53,000 people who should have passed the test had not yet fulfilled their obligation.

The United States has always been a country of immigration . The idea of ​​the melting pot, which is widespread in the USA, is based on the approximation of different cultures. The idea of ​​the Salad Bowl, on the other hand, assumes that the peculiarities of different cultures remain side by side. Migrant children who were born in the United States automatically acquire American citizenship. However, the integration of immigrants into American society usually requires more than a generation: children of immigrants regularly achieve higher standards in terms of educational qualifications, professional standards and home ownership than their parents.

In Canada , immigration is the largest contributor to population growth. Immigrants have, on average, higher levels of education than the native population. The country has a selective immigration policy with a points system that favors skilled workers based on personal skills, experience and age. In addition, there are targets for the number and origin of immigrants, similar to a quota system. Newcomers are offered integration assistance that also includes language courses that can already be completed in the country of origin. Since 2015, occupational group-specific immigration quotas no longer apply, international qualifications are additionally checked, job offers and knowledge of English and French are given more weight, and the number of immigrants is limited to 230,000 to 250,000 annually (as of 2016). With regard to refugees in particular, it is possible for individuals and initiatives in Canada to sponsor privately. The sponsors undertake to provide the refugee with the following support for one year: help in finding accommodation, financial support, social and emotional support, food and clothing.

According to Stefan Luft, failed social and structural integration in France and Great Britain, combined with diverging values, have led to the emergence of Islamic-dominated parralel societies and to a considerable potential for conflict, which is also reflected in the unrest that has flared up again and again for decades. It is therefore of central importance to achieve successful integration into the education system and the labor market and to decisively counter religious intolerance and hatred.

Italy and the UK also have private refugee sponsorship programs.

For other states see also: Immigration and immigration policy in Denmark since 1945


Integration of foreign worker families: German families visiting a foreign family. Postage stamp of the FRG, 1981
For information on integration in previous centuries, see for example: Huguenots in Berlin # Gradual integration
For integration in West and East Germany after the Second World War, see for example: Flight and expulsion of Germans from Central and Eastern Europe 1945–1950 # Integration and history of Jews in Germany # Return from exile and homeless foreigners
For the history of refugee reception in Germany, see: Refugee Policy (Germany)

Research and Teaching

The research institutions for integration include the Berlin Institute for Empirical Integration and Migration Research (BIM) at the Humboldt University in Berlin , the interdisciplinary and interdisciplinary Institute for Migration Research and Intercultural Studies (IMIS) at the University of Osnabrück , the European Forum for Migration Studies , the Frankfurt Institute for Empirical Migration and Integration Research at the Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, founded in 2011, and the Foundation for Turkish Studies and Integration Research of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia . The refugee research network funded by the DFG is located at IMIS . At the University of Konstanz there is a Cluster of Excellence Cultural Foundations of Integration with a duration from 2006–2017.

Some universities offer programs, degrees or certificates in this regard, such as the Master of Arts in International Migration and Intercultural Relations at the University of Osnabrück, the International Bachelor's degree in Social Sciences: Migration and Integration at the Catholic University of Mainz , the Master of Science in Migration and Migration Integration management at the Department for Migration and Globalization at Danube University Krems as well as the international certificates in the program “Integration and Diversity at Göttingen University ” (InDiGU) and Integration, Interculturality and Diversity at the University of Passau .

The Master of Arts European Master in Migration and Intercultural Relations at the University of Osnabrück, the Master of Arts Intercultural Education, Migration and Multilingualism at the Karlsruhe University of Education and the Master of Arts “Migration and Diversity” relate more generally to migration and intercultural issues the Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel .


Criticism of the concept of integration

The Association of Binational Families and Partnerships states that it is reluctant to use the term “integration” because society needs something else. Rather, it is about “jointly ascertaining, balancing, negotiating where you stand together and where you want to go together”, thus creating an “ inclusive society”. In this sense, the association advocates a broad concept of inclusion that goes beyond the group of the disabled: Inclusion should not stop at one group of society.

Naika Foroutan states that the term integration is being criticized because, in the general understanding, it is still primarily associated with an adaptation effort by migrants and their descendants. According to Foroutan, “the attempt should be made to no longer relate the term integration to migrants and their descendants only one-sided, but to expand it to include society as a whole”.

Kamuran Sezer, sociologist and initiator of the TASD study , emphasizes that the German integration debate lacks a practical term for integration. It is problematic to use only the criteria of knowledge of the German language, educational qualifications and employment.

Criticism of the integration concept

Paul Mecheril sees the public discourse on integration as a reaction to the fact that the phantasm of the natio-ethno-cultural “we” has got into a crisis. Talking about the “integration” of others focuses primarily on a distinction between “we” and “not we” and serves to make the “we” clear in the first place.

When looking at integration, the focus is more on “promoting and demanding” than looking at equal opportunities in terms of social, economic, political and cultural rights to participate. The call for adaptation to existing cultural paradigms is based on the “container model” with the idea of ​​a homogeneous society in the country of immigration. From a mainstreaming perspective, reference is made in this regard to the normality of transnational lives - a life “across the boundaries of the nation-state”.

Wilhelm Heitmeyer stated in an interview with the Süddeutsche Zeitung in 2017 that many people in Germany lack an essential element of integration: to be noticed and recognized. He explained: “This does not only apply to immigrants and refugees, but also to locals, especially to many people in the East. After reunification, for many, a lifetime's performance was devalued ”. The impression of losing control over one's own biography and over politics leads “to an emptying of democracy and to disintegration”. An “integration policy for all Germans who feel they are excluded” is necessary.

See also

Portal: Migration and Integration  - Articles, categories, and more on migration and integration

Web links



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