Immigration and the labour market

There is a growing need for immigration to cushion the effects of an ageing society on labour markets and social security systems in industrialised countries. At the same time, more people are migrating than ever before around the world, especially in less developed regions. This trend is likely to continue as socio-economic development increases the likelihood of migration.

Social and political challenges

Societies and politics should propose feasible strategies to respond to a range of contested issues. These include ways of regulating migratory flows; developing strategies to ease migrants’ integration into the labour market and society; providing social support to their families and assessing the availability of resources at different levels of policy making. In recent years, labour migration has become increasingly salient and contested among populations. Policy-makers should raise awareness for the importance of migration for societies. This requires a clear understanding of the facts and the potential that global migration holds for the EU and Germany.

In search of a better life

Many factors contribute to individual decisions to migrate. These include economic, demographic and political factors, levels of education, interpersonal ties and networks abroad as well the destination country’s migration policy. People's aspirations for change, more freedom and better income opportunities are further drivers of migration. However, the reasons can never be clearly determined. While some people are forced to migrate due to armed conflict or war, the majority do so for economic reasons. They look for jobs in their home country or region. Searching a job from afar is often difficult. Also, German companies face challenges when it comes to hiring foreign workers. The legal situation is complex; the administrative barriers are huge and many applicants lack sufficient qualifications. The Skilled Immigration Act came into force in 2020 to simplify the recruitment process for skilled workers who intend to migrate to Germany from non-EU countries.

Education and employment

Despite challenges, Germany ranks amongst the most popular destination countries for international migrants. Decent work puts people in the position to take care of themselves and to make a proper living. Companies can assist their new employees who want to relocate, for example by providing language training or administrative support for migrants’ settlement status. Educational opportunities aimed at young children from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds and immigrant families are equally important. Although education cannot remove all barriers to integration, equal social participation requires important skills that can be developed in school.


Adrián Carrasco Heiermann


Phone: +49 30 - 31 10 26 98


© Berlin-Institut

Dr. Frederick Sixtus

Project Coordinator German Demography

Phone: +49 30 - 31 10 26 98


© Berlin-Institut

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