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Integration in Germany

Expatrio 2024-02-15
Integration in Germany


Integration refers to the way newcomers find a place in the societies they join. It's always a big deal in multicultural countries with large foreign-born populations, and Germany is definitely no exception. By and large, Germany does a good job of absorbing new arrivals and ensuring social harmony.

Residents in Germany need to know about integration, so let's learn a little more to help you settle in.

German Integration Courses

Integration seeks to teach the knowledge and behavior needed for new residents to thrive

Everyone who becomes a German citizen has to undertake integration training.

What is an integration course?

Integration courses are officially approved educational services which teach a range of core German themes. All applicants for long-term German visas and citizenship must speak German well, and these courses aim to provide the required level of fluency with a German language lesson component.

They also include orientation elements, including primers on German politics and law, gender relations, finance, and employment. Some arrivals may find these courses somewhat basic, and they aren't always needed. For this reason, most courses feature assessment procedures to determine whether applicants require training.

Who can participate in an integration course?

Anyone can participate in an integration course. However, they are really intended for newcomers who have been in Germany for a short time. As a rule, if you come from a non-EU country and cannot read or write German well, an integration course will be essential.


Resident's permit - Berechtigungsschein

You cannot enroll in a course until you have your Berechtigungsschein (resident's permit), so secure this as a first step.


Types of integration courses

There are two major types of integration course, and you may not need both

  • Firstly, language courses provide professional quality training in basic and intermediate German, with written, comprehension, and oral elements.
  • Secondly, orientation courses cover aspects of German life, providing a basis to find your feet as you settle down.

In many cases, students take a combination of the two, so the categories are not mutually exclusive. Additionally, you may find intensive courses for fast learners, courses aimed solely at women, and options for those with poor literacy skills.

How to find integration courses

The best way to find an appropriate course is to use the website of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF). The BAMF website has a dedicated search page for integration courses, including application forms, tips about making the most of the course, and information about examinations.


Refugees in Germany

Since 2015, integration has become a more pressing issue in Germany, and the reason is simple

Starting in that year, Germany has absorbed a flow of refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, and other unstable regions. This has led to calls to ensure that all arrivals are properly integrated.

How many refugees are there in Germany?

No country in Europe took more refugees during the 2015 crisis than Germany. In that year alone, Germany registered 890,000 asylum claims, and a similar number were processed in 2016. In total, well over 1.5 million refugees arrived in Germany as a result of war and famine.

How many refugees does Germany take in?

The situation has changed since 2015, with just 180,000 asylum claims registered in 2018. The system for registering and processing these claims has also been sped up, ensuring that more people can gain settled status, or be returned to their countries of origin if their claim is illegitimate.

Why is Germany taking so many refugees?

In 2015, hundreds of thousands of people were trapped in countries like Croatia, Hungary, and Serbia. Driven by civil war from their homes, and desperate for refuge, they found hostility and suspicion from these host countries. Pressure rapidly rose to find a solution. But it was still surprising when Angela Merkel decided to open Germany's borders, causing an influx of refugees.

However, the reasons are easy to understand. On one hand, Merkel did not want to risk instability in eastern Europe. But the humanitarian case was foremost. The Chancellor acted to prevent deaths by starvation, violence, or cold on Germany's border, and trusted Germany's hospitality to ease the process. This reflects Germany's historic experience of welcoming German migrants, but it was still a bold decision, and caused plenty of controversy.

If you want to help Syrian refugees, why not attend a restaurant or business supported by charities like Be An Angel, which are working to accelerate the integration of new arrivals?

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