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Getting help

October 7, 2015

The Federal Employment Agency and job centres will give you advice and assistance to find employment in Germany. Depending on your asylum procedure, you can also claim additional educational and support benefits to help you find work quickly.

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You can receive diverse kinds of assistance in searching for a training or employment vacancy in Germany. Depending on your residence status, different institutions are responsible for you. Both of them can, however, help you with all questions to do with entering the labour market, including advice on your qualifications and placement in specific jobs, but also additional help if you need training measures.

Responsible institution

As soon as you are registered in Germany and in the process of being granted tolerated status, the local employment agencies are responsible for you, where you will be given advice and can have your qualifications checked early on for the German labour market. As soon as you gain access to the labour or training market after three months, you will be given placement assistance for training and job vacancies, help for further training and access to measures such as application training, where necessary.

On approval of an application for asylum, refugees receive all the active assistance benefits listed below. Most recognised refugees, however, then fall under Social Code II, which regulates basic income support for jobseekers, for which local job centres are then responsible instead of the Federal Employment Agency.

Help in taking up work

Besides advisory and placement services, employment agencies and job centres can provide specific support to meet the costs of applications and job interviews. Additional ways to get to know an occupation or workplace are provided by special programmes at employers’ companies, in programmes by training providers or in probationary employment periods.

The so-called integration subsidy or special longer-term grants under the programme, Social Participation in the Labour Market, provide subsidies for employers who take in persons who have been registered as unemployed for longer periods. In addition, the start-up grant supports unemployed persons wishing to advance their careers through self-employment. Finally, funded employment opportunities in community service can provide a springboard onto the labour market.

Employment agencies and job centres also provide additional benefits with support from the European Social Fund. The project component, Integration instead of Exclusion, combines standard employment promotion support with additional project components, to further train young immigrants, for example. Employment agencies and job centres can also draw on the programme, Integration of Asylum Seekers and Refugees. This centres on improved advice, company-focused training measures and placement. The federal ESF programme, Career Entry Support, finances special career entry mentors that provide individual ongoing assistance to young people in the transition from school to vocational training. Moreover, the funding programme, Integration through Qualification, provides further training needed for the full recognition of foreign occupational qualifications.

Initial and Continuing Training

The employment agency provides both occupational advice and career guidance for young people, for example in schools. Career entry support is especially geared to assisting pupils at risk of failing to make the transition from school to working life. Prevocational training measures help youth to prepare for vocational training, implementing their legal entitlement to the second-chance acquisition of a lower secondary school certificate. The special programme, Introductory Training for Youth, promotes long-term traineeships with employers aimed at the subsequent commencement of proper vocational training.

The vocational training grant provides financial assistance for trainees in economic difficulty. Grants are also available for training persons with severe disabilities. Assisted training is a way to provide co-operative training with an education provider being involved in training as a third partner. Training-related assistance helps youth with learning difficulties or socially disadvantaged youth to particularly improve on their language and educational deficits and provides them with socio-educational guidance.

Another major step on the way to entering the German labour market is further occupational training, where job centres and employment agencies help. The programme, Training works - late starters wanted, provides further training to young people with no occupational qualification aged between 25 and 34.

Depending on parental income, student refugees also receive financial aid during their course of study under the so-called Federal Training Assistance Act.

Nationwide youth employment agencies will pool benefits for under-twenty-fives, so that no-one is neglected in the transition from school to training/employment. ‘Youth employment agency’ is a general term that denotes different regional schemes for cooperation among employment agencies, job centres and youth welfare.

Personal assistance

Besides promoting active labour-market measures, Social Code II also includes additional assistance for long-term unemployed persons in their personal circumstances. This entails necessary assistance, such as care for minors or children with disabilities or home nursing of family members and debt, psychosocial or addiction counselling.

New benefits for tolerated persons

The above benefits are not only available after the application for asylum has been approved. As of 1 January 2016, several programmes are open to tolerated persons who have been living in Germany for at least 15 months. They can receive support both for training through programmes for vocational training grants, assisted training and training-related assistance and for courses of study through the Federal Training Assistance Act.

Contact partners

Your local employment agency is responsible for you as an asylum applicant or tolerated refugee. On approval of your asylum application, the local job centre will be in charge of all eligible benefits.