Working Together for Local Integration of Migrants and Refugees in Berlin

image of Working Together for Local Integration of Migrants and Refugees in Berlin

Berlin has long been a diverse, multicultural city and today about 1 million – or 30% – of its inhabitants have a migration background, meaning that they – or at least one of their parents – were born without German nationality. Berlin’s authorities perceive diversity as generally accepted in Berlin’s society. This case study takes a close look at the city’s migrant integration programmes and services, examining how all levels of government participate in these programmes, as well as the growing role played by third-sector agencies. It considers how Berlin’s administration reacted to the sharp rise in asylum applications in 2015-16, rapidly updating existing integration measures as well as developing emergency ones. The integration of these newcomers needs to be monitored in order to demonstrate policy impact and to help establish whether such policies can be expanded to help other migrant groups that still experience wide socio-economic gaps compared to native population.


Executive summary

Berlin has long been known as a multicultural and diverse city. Today, the city is home to roughly 3.5 million people, of which around 30% have a migration background, i.e. they themselves or at least one of their parents were not born with German citizenship. Across Germany, those with a migration background represented 23% of the total population in 2016. While in the 1950s to 1970s migrants mostly came from Turkey, Poland and the Russian Federation, in 2015 almost half (46%) of the migrants who moved to Berlin originated from a European country and of these, 72% originated from an EU member state. Despite having a long political tradition of migrant integration, Berlin struggles to bridge wide socio-economic gaps between people with and without a migration background. For example, there is a 10 percentage point difference between the unemployment rates for people with a migration background than for those without.


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