The German chancellor’s controversial open-door migrant policy has been dealt another catastrophic blow after it emerged only 1 in every 10,000 migrants who arrived since last year has a job.
Astonishing statistics revealed that only 1 in every 10,000 refugees who arrived during the massive migrant influx last year are now employed.
German firms have defended themselves after Angela Merkel blamed them for not hiring enough refugees.
The German leader unleashed a scathing criticism of local businesses–but company leaders claim refugees “are just not ready” for the job market.
German companies have hired less than 100 refugees despite the arrival of more than a million into the country last year.
Mrs Merkel is currently fighting for her political career after her open-door policy provoked a humiliating political backlash in regional elections two weeks ago.
She summoned the bosses of Germany’s biggest companies to Berlin to explain their lack of action as she tried to deflect blame onto them.
A survey by Reuters of the 30 companies in Germany’s DAX stock market index found just 63 refugee hires in total.
Of those 63 hires, 50 are employed by Deutsche Post DHL, who have been praised for their “pragmatic approach” after employing refugees to sort and deliver letters and parcels.
But during yesterday’s meeting, businesses pointed to the uncertainty about the migrants’ permission to stay in the country.
They claimed that refugees lacked German-language skills and proof of qualifications.
A spokesman for the German business community said: “Given that around 80 percent of asylum seekers are not highly qualified and may not yet have a high level of German proficiency, we have primarily offered jobs that do not require technical skills or a considerable amount of interaction in German.”
A high proportion of refugees are not qualified beyond primary or secondary school level, with many unable to read or write, according to the business community leaders.
Airline and financial industries added that many asylum seekers are unable to prove their identities.
Merkel told bosses on Wednesday’s meeting that “everyone will benefit” if more refugees are integrated through the workplace.
She also pointed to special migrant job centres set up to help immigrants find jobs, housing and qualification recognition of their previous employment and education.
The desperate news comes as optimism surrounding the migrant influx vanishes.
Germany – Europe’s biggest economy – faces a growing skills shortage with a working-age population due to decrease by six million people over the next 15 years.
Many had hoped that migrants could boost economic growth and help ease the skills shortage.
Industrial group ThyssenKrupp’s Chief Executive Heinrich Hiesinger confirmed that “the employment of refugees is no solution for the skills shortage”.
Deutsche Telekom plans to take on about 75 refugees as apprentices this year but still has not made a permanent hire yet.
A spokeswoman said: “Our experience is that it takes a minimum of 18 months for a well trained refugee to go through the asylum procedure and learn German at an adequate level in order to apply for a job.”
Susanne Eikemeier from the German Federal Agency for Employment said: “Many refugees need money quickly to send it back to their relatives in their home country or pay their bills and they do not see the advantages of an apprenticeship that starts with less pay.
“We try to convince them that this would be better in the long run and we try to figure out what skills they actually have.
“The problem is that a mechanic from Afghanistan may repair cars, but he never went to a professional school and got a certificate.”
The employment figures emerged as anti-refugee Alternative für Deutschland party made considerable gains in elections following fears that Merkel’s refugee policy threatened German stability.