Quick access:

Go directly to content (Alt 1) Go directly to first-level navigation (Alt 2)

Understanding Skilled Worker Mobility
Setting the Course for Integration

Understanding Skilled Worker Mobility
Understanding Skilled Worker Mobility | Photo (detail): © Matthias Schilling/Goethe-Institut e.V.

How skilled labour migration can succeed: The Goethe-Institut has published two analyses on the pre-integration and mobility of skilled workers from abroad. 

Discover. Set out. Arrive. Despite the enormous effects of the coronavirus pandemic and the associated travel restrictions, the promotion of skilled worker migration remains a relevant issue for the Federal Republic of Germany. Two surveys conducted by the Goethe-Institut show that foreign skilled workers would welcome significantly more linguistic and professional training programmes as well as support in orienting themselves in their everyday lives and work. The results of both surveys were presented on 22 October and discussed with the Federal Government Commissioner for Migration, Refugees and Integration Annette Widmann-Mauz, the Secretary-General of the Goethe-Institut Johannes Ebert and other experts.

In her speech at the start of the discussion event, the Federal Government Commissioner for Migration, Refugees and Integration, Annette Widmann-Mauz, emphasised, “As the Federal government, we want to set the course for integration before immigration. Immigrants should be able to make a well-informed decision and to enter the country well prepared. We have created important prerequisites for this with the Skilled Workers Immigration Act, language courses in the country of origin, migration counselling and information services. But this also means we must fight discrimination and racism with all our might and recognise, appreciate and use the value of our society’s diversity. Only then will we remain an appealing country where people want to work, live and stay.”

Tailor-made language courses for skilled workers abroad

Johannes Ebert, Secretary-General of the Goethe-Institut, then went into the relevance of pre-integrative programmes, noting, “Qualified and comprehensive pre-integration programmes – both linguistic as well as cultural and social – in the countries of origin are of central importance for the migration of skilled workers. That is why the Goethe-Institut, with its many years of expertise in teaching the German language, is more committed than ever to offering tailor-made language courses for skilled workers abroad and continuously developing them. This also includes the increased training of teachers in order to meet the rising demand for language courses. At the same time, more efforts and resources are needed to convey the German language and an image of modern-day Germany abroad. This is the only way we can make Germany more attractive to skilled workers from abroad.”

Survey of 3,000 skilled workers in five countries 

The survey entitled Fachkräftemobilität verstehen (Understanding Skilled Worker Mobility), presented for the first time at the event, looks at the following questions: Why do people choose to migrate? Where do most people migrate to? And what kind of support do they need? To answer these questions, a quantitative survey of over 3,000 skilled workers was carried out in five countries (Albania, Egypt, Brazil, the Philippines and Vietnam). The survey shows that Germany is largely unknown as a destination country for a large number of respondents. The majority of skilled workers are drawn to English-speaking countries or countries that are linguistically and culturally related to theirs. The most frequently mentioned barriers to migration to Germany are, at 29%, the level of difficulty of the language and, at 22%, a lack of knowledge about German culture. Tying into this, the survey also shows that the majority of the skilled workers questioned would like more support with formalities and in the search for potential employers, while at the same time there is a high demand for language and professional training programmes.

Annäherung, die im Heimatland beginnt (Approach that Begins in the Home Country), an analysis published in March, on the other hand, examines the importance of pre-integrative programmes in the countries of origin. The survey shows that pre-integrative programmes are highly relevant for skilled worker migration linguistically, regionally and interculturally. In retrospect, many of the interviewed migrants would have wished for more extensive and more targeted preparation. In third countries in particular, the need for pre-integrative programmes is very high and still far from being met.

Both studies are available for free download (in German only).