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Merkel talks with companies over refuges hire

Merkel talks with companies over refuges hireGermany needs to find "viable solutions" to integrate refugees into the workforce faster, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday.

Merkel shared this view after her meeting with blue-chip companies, which have hired just over 100 refugees since around a million arrived in the country last year. On Wednesday Merkel met with the bosses of some of Germany's biggest companies in Berlin to account for their lack of action and exchange ideas about how they can do better.

The main companies’ concerns came over the lack of German-language skills, the inability of most refugees to prove any qualifications and uncertainty about their permission to stay in the country. Around 80% of asylum seekers are not qualified beyond primary or secondary school level. Many cannot read or write, let alone speak German. So nothing they could do in a short term.

Most German companies want to take a longer-term approach to future employees, ensuring that if they take someone onto their highly-structured apprenticeship programmes, which can last for up to four years, they have a long-term perspective of staying in Germany.

In order to speed up the integration of refugees into the workforce, Merkel said special provisions could be developed, but that also would take time.

"Many are in integration courses or waiting to get on them. So I think we will need to show some patience, but must be ready at any time to develop viable solutions," she said.
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