This report is about Germany’s integration system. Germany is a “reluctant” immigration country. Despite its post-World-War-II history of immigration, Germany has never adopted a coherent strategy or policy of integration. Immigration was considered a transitory phenomenon as the notorious term “guest workers” suggests. Considering the expected return of immigrants to their countries of origin, integration policy making has long remained implicit. Recent processes of refugee immigration have opened a policy window for a more proactive approach to immigration and integration. However, the formulation and implementation of integration policies are situated in a setting of double complexity. First, integration is a crosscutting policy issue which connects to the responsibilities of various federal ministries. Second, it is a multi-level system in which policy making and monitoring largely take place on the federal level. However, the actual implementation is mainly realized on the level of regional states and municipalities. At least since 2016, integration measures (as those stipulated on Asylum Package II for example), point to the competing and paternalistic logic of retaining control over refugees. This is accomplished by the imposition of restrictions on movement and the expansion of value education as part of the integration courses. It is also supported by a logic of human capital, which privileges refugees as to their economic value whilst restricting basic rights, such as the freedom of movement. Individuals applying for asylum in Germany live highly restricted lives subject to accountability, compliance and punitive measures. While the “Asylum Packages” and the “Integration Act” have mainly focused on structural integration through labour market inclusion, the “Migration Masterplan” has emphasized sociocultural aspects, such as identification and acculturation. It’s obvious that most initiatives respond to an alleged public expectation of refugees smoothly fitting in the society rather than to the actual demands of support and participation which they may have.

DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.3874426