.Since its introduction ten years ago, the integration courses have become an important part of professional and social integration of immigrants. More than a million participants attended the courses that offered the chance to establish a new home base.
The number of refugees seeking refuge and help in Germany is constantly growing. In the current year at least 300,000 asylum seekers are expected. The level of funding and number of existing courses is by far not enough. Furthermore, the concept must be urgently adapted to the needs. Currently, the courses are aimed primarily at low-skilled participants but also well-educated refugees need more sophisticated courses.
„The introduction of integration courses ten years ago was good, important and groundbreaking. Now we need to adjust them to changing realities“, notes the Chairman of the Vocational Training Association (BBB) Thiemo Fojkar.
Repeatingly the BBB has already called for more funding for the integration courses. More resources have been allocated for this year, but still not enough. Meanwhile the money was saved elsewhere, namely the low-threshold integration courses for women. While there was a funding of 1.8 million euros in 2013, just 600,000 euros are available in 2015, i.e. two-thirds less. "This decision is incomprehensible“, so Fojkar. „Many asylum seekers and refugees have no access to the courses. Access to the integration course system is strongly regulated, instead to simplify it. Tens of thousands of asylum seekers are left out“, stated the BBB Chairman.
In addition, the so called "tolerated“ asylum seekers whose residence status is unclear – must not attend a German course or work in the first six months, even if they have good skills and the labor market could use their expertise urgently. The German courses funded by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) are only for those whose immigration status is assured.
„In addition to sufficient funding, the BBB calls, to set up a coherent support and funding system, which addresses the needs of the relevant target groups“, Fojkar concludes.