Christian HunklerAileen EdeleStefan Schipolowski

The role of educational resources in the labor market integration of refugees: The case of Syrian asylum seekers in Germany


free download


The relevance of education for migrants’ integration in the labor market is well documented. However, the migration conditions of refugees and their educational resources are different from those of other migrants, as they must often interrupt their educational careers and cannot ensure the suitability of their educational degrees in the receiving country’s labor market. It is thus unclear which educational resources refugees have and to what extent these resources are relevant for their labor market integration. This paper examines (a) which educational resources Syrian refugees possess at their arrival in Germany and (b) how their educational resources relate to their labor market integration. We use data on Syrian refugees in Bavaria covering a comprehensive set of indicators for educational resources, including educational degrees and a test of respondents’ scientific knowledge. A large proportion (65%) of Syrian refugees report interrupted educational careers. Nevertheless, their educational degrees correspond to their scientific knowledge in a similar way as that observed in a German comparison sample. Educational resources are pivotal in explaining labor market placement. Notably, the scientific knowledge test is found to be a better predictor than educational degrees. We conclude that education and particularly the quality of education, as indicated by the scientific knowledge test, is a notable resource for refugees’ labor market integration.

Refugees; Educational resources; Structural integration; Labor market integration; Germany