Challenges and Solutions
Edited by Martin Kahanec and Klaus F. Zimmermann
Chapter 6: Social and Labor Market Integration of Ethnic Minorities in Germany
Hans Dietrich von Loeffelholz INTRODUCTION Since the first administration of German chancellor Gerhard Schröder came into office in the fall of 1998, the discussion of a cogent immigration and integration policy on both immigrants who have lived and worked in Germany for a long time and those moving to Germany has evolved into a major issue in Germany. The simultaneous downturn of the economy and rising unemployment among foreigners in general and Turkish immigrants in particular, who are the most important minority group in Germany, have brought the issue of labor market disintegration to the forefront of the debate. The focus has recently intensified in light of the pressing question as to whether the social unrest in the French banlieues could also take place in Duisburg-Marxloh or Berlin-Kreuzberg, where Turkish communities in Germany are concentrated. Despite the assertion that “Germany is not France,” it is becoming increasingly clear that the case for a “new” immigration and integration policy is stronger now than at any point in the past 50 years. The previous government underpinned this argument by launching the Green Card initiative in 2000, under which almost 18 000 IT experts were recruited from abroad for labor market reasons. This was particularly on account of shortages of highly skilled computer and information technology experts, who were absent in the home market despite the increasing general unemployment. The scheme expired at the end of 2004, and the whole immigration and – implicitly – integration policy was set on a new foundation. The...
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