This report looks at post-2014 migrants’ access to housing, employment, and other relevant resources (language classes, neighborhood centers and social meeting places) in different small and medium-sized towns and rural areas Germany. The report also investigates the effects of the COVID-Pandemic on integration and social cohesion in the localities.
Primarily based on interviews conducted in each of the for selected municipalities, the report provides an overview of:
1) the concrete barriers that post-2014 migrants are facing in relation to housing and employment;
2) the local actors who are involved in, and/or seen as responsible for, facilitating their access;
3) any concrete local measures or practices that help or hinder this access;
4) the specific target groups of these measures, initiatives or practices.
The report finds that the federal system in Germany leads to different frames for post-2014 migrants’ access to housing and employment due to Länder-specific distribution systems, residence regulations and differing programs for target groups. On the local level, housing and employment are, in the first instance, market-driven fields of action. The availability of housing and the ownership structure on the housing market play a crucial role for post-2014 migrants’ access to housing, and so does the need for (skilled) workforce in the field of employment, especially in economically thriving localities. Structural factors, such as demographic development (esp. ageing and shrinking of the population), and the size of a locality play a key role in shaping the housing and labor market. Experience with diversity also impacts post-2014 migrants’ chances to access housing and labor market, however this does not necessarily apply to all actors in a locality but can differ between companies or renters. Regarding the effects of the COVID-Pandemic on local integration outcomes, the report finds devastating effects in all researched areas. Language knowledge, social contacts, employment possibilities and administrative processes have been reduced to a minimum with most troubling effects for integration and social cohesion. The next years will be crucial to mitigate these effects and (re-)built cohesive communities.
Authors: Friedrike Enßle-Reinhardt, Hanne Schneider and Birgit Glorius