Education and Employment International


    Immigration has many facets

    The situation in Thuringia

    The situation in Thuringia we are addressing is that of refugees seeking political asylum and shelter from war and persecution. The experiences suffered during escape from a country brings with them many hardships: asylum seekers are very often traumatized and suffer from health problems.
    On the other hand, however, refugees can offer a multitude of professional, social, and cultural skills and abilities. Unfortunately these areas of special competence are very rarely recognized. Asylum seekers very often lead isolated lives with very limited opportunities to participate in society. This is especially true in regards to the labor market. Restrictive laws prevent access to professional development and to paid jobs. The total lack of employment opportunity is one of the most distressing problems asylum seekers face.

    Jewish immigrants enjoy secure resident status yet still experience severe problems in their attempt to integrate into a society alien to them in many respects. Inadequate language skills and problems gaining recognition for professional and vocational degrees very often prevent them from .nding jobs appropriate to their educational backgrounds.

    After the many years of unemployment due to their exclusion from exercising their professional skills, it is the case for both asylum seekers and Jewish immigrants alike, that they often lose the vocational perspectives they had had.

    The "Thüringenmonitor", commissioned annually by the Thuringian government, has shown that widespread racism and anti-Semitism exist even though Thuringia with only 2% has the lowest proportion of foreigners in Germany. Ostracism from participation in society occurs in many forms. Immigrants are confronted with prejudice and ignorance and an uneasiness people show in their dealings with them. They are treated unfairly in government of.ces, they are subjected to insults and violent attacks, infringement of their rights, legal discrimination, and altogether poorer working and living conditions. Even before the recent expansion of the European Union an increasing internationalization of private and professional lives of many people had become evident. Thuringia needs immigration, as there will be a severe shortage of quali.ed employees in a very few years. A problem which medium-sized .rms in particular are not prepared for. The missing multilingualism, de.cient levels of intercultural competence, together with a lack of experience with immigrants complicate the task of opening up .rms to immigrant employees. The project "Arbeit und Bildung International" (Education and Employment International) aims at making improvements in all of these different areas.