Fair Integration provides advice on social and employment law issues in Germany nationwide. The counselling provided by Fair Integration is aimed at refugees and other migrants who are not from the EU.
Advice centres offer guidance on specific issues for individuals already in employment, training or doing an internship. Advice centres also provide those who wish to be prepared in advance, with information about their working conditions. The advice centres also offer workshops for refugees and other migrants who are not from the EU, e.g. as part of integration courses or language courses.
The advice provision covers topics relating to employment law and social legislation, which are linked directly to the employment relationship, e.g. wages, working time, holiday, dismissal and termination, health insurance, etc. Other specialised advice centres and advisory bodies are called on for other topics, e.g. seeking work or residency status.
The advice centres support refugees and other migrants who are not from the EU in protecting themselves from exploitation and discrimination and in being able to challenge this. Being aware of your own rights and obligations within the employment relationship is essential for being able to participate confidently in the labour market. It is also the basis for overcoming precarious employment conditions and for finding decent employment in Germany. This is because only those who know their rights can demand that these rights are respected. The Fair Integration advice is guided by experiences from the DGB project Fair Mobility and other union-related advice centres for EU employees. Through collaborating closely with other IQ centres, the aim is to achieve labour market integration appropriate to one’s level of training.
The advice centres work together closely with other advice centres and support structures. Cooperation partners also include stakeholders from cities and communities, trade unions, Chambers and the labour administration.
Fair Integration is implemented within the Network “Integration through qualification (IQ)”. A range of organisations are responsible for implementation in the sixteen federal states. Fair Integration is assisted by ‘Support Fair Integration’—a support structure of the DGB Bildungswerk—as well as by the Competence Centre for Immigration in the Network IQ in content-related matters. The Fair Integration advice centres come under the IQ Regional Networks and are financed by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS) and the European Social Fund (ESF).
Support Fair Integration
Support Fair Integration is a support structure for the Fair Integration advice centres within Network IQ. The Support Fair Integration project is implemented by the DGB Bildungswerk BUND (the national training organization of the German Trade Union Federation).
The role and the activities of the project involve supporting advice centres, e.g. in public relations work and in the preparation of information materials, as well as providing second-level support in direct advice work. Support Fair Integration also provides advice at three locations (Dortmund, Frankfurt am Main, Nuremberg) and in doing so supports Fair Integration advice centres locally. Support Fair Integration works closely with the DGB project Fair Mobility and the DGB trade unions.
Integration through Qualification (IQ)
In 2017, Germany was home to around 19.3 million people with a migration background, amounting to 23.6 percent of the population. Due to a number of factors, unemployment is about twice as high among people who have a migration background compared to those who do not. In recent years, immigration to Germany has risen significantly, particularly from other EU countries. Many of these migrants hold professional degrees or other valuable credentials that are frequently not recognised in Germany. At the same time, skills shortages are becoming more evident in the German labour market.
Mission of the Network "Integration through Qualification (IQ)"
Against this background, it is essential to tap all available potential and including that of migrants. Since 2005, the Network "Integration through Qualification (IQ)" has been working to improve employment opportunities for people with a migration background. Since 2015 the Network IQ focuses on compensatory measures in the context of the Recognition Act. One objective of central importance is that occupational qualifications acquired outside Germany lead to employment appropriate to one’s level of education.
Oftentimes, migrants are perceived in stereotypical and deficient ways. Bringing to light the manifold potential of migrants and raising the awareness of discriminative conditions in labour markets is crucial for an improving labour market integration in a diverse society. Therefore, building and strengthening intercultural competences among labour market stakeholders remains one of the central concerns of the Network IQ.
The Sructure of the Network IQ
The principal task of the 16 regional networks (one for each Bundesland or federal state) is to implement the programme at the regional level. Each is managed by a regional coordinator and covers a range of subprojects operating on the ground. They offer counselling on credential’ recognition and job and bridge trainings to attain full recognition of foreign qualifications. Beyond that, they provide information, advice and training to labour market stakeholders in order to raise the awareness of the specific requirements of migrants and they disseminate further expertise.
Besides the regional networks, there are five competence centres dedicated to migrant-specific issues at the federal level. They provide expert advice and assistance to the regional networks. These centres develop training schemes, instruments and policy recommendations for the integration of migrants into the labour market. In addition, the competence centres are responsible for giving specialist advice to decision-makers in politics, business and public administration. These matters can range from the development of quality standards and learning materials to the dissemination of research results.
The Cooperative Structure of the Network IQ
At the federal level, the Network IQ is coordinated by the IQ Dissemination Project (IQ DP). The project facilitates cooperation between the network partners, supports the transfer of best practices and is responsible for the public relations of the Network IQ. Together with the Competence Centres, IQ DP reports the results of the network to relevant government ministries, the Federal Employment Agency and the expert community. "Recognition in Germany" is the multilingual web portal of the Federal Government for the recognition of foreign professional qualifications. The portal works in close cooperation with the Network IQ.
The programme is funded by the Federal Ministry for Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS) and the European Social Fund (ESF). Strategic partners in implementing the programme are the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) and the Federal Employment Agency (BA).
For a brief overview of Network IQ, you can download our flyer.