The role of educational resources for the structural integration of refugees - The case of Syrian asylum seekers in Germany

The relevance of education for migrants’ integration in the labor market is well documented. However, the migration conditions of refugees and their education- al resources are different from those of other migrants, as they must often inter- rupt their educational careers and cannot ensure the suitability of their educa- tional degrees in the receiving country’s labor market. It is thus unclear which educational resources refugees have and to what extent these resources are rel- evant for their labor market integration. This paper examines (a) which educa- tional 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 ed- ucational resources, including educational degrees and a test of respondents’ sci- entific 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 educa- tional degrees. We conclude that education and particularly the quality of educa- tion, as indicated by the scientific knowledge test, is a notable resource for refu- gees’ labor market integration.

Hunkler, C., Edele, A. & Schipolowski, S. (2021): The role of educational resources for the structural integration of refugees. The case of Syrian asylum seekers in Germany . Journal of Educational Research Online, 13(1), 157–181.


Dr. Christian Hunkler

Dr. Christian Hunkler

Postdoctoral Researcher in the units "Labor Market, Migration, and Integration" and "Education and Integration"

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