Germany should make it easier for refugees to work: Airbus chief

25th October 2015, Comments 0 comments

Germany should make it easier for refugees to find work, even if it means giving them part-time work and low-paid jobs, the head of European airplane maker Airbus said on Sunday.

In a guest article to be published in the daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung on Monday, Airbus chief executive Tom Enders argued that Germany should be more "pragmatic" and open up its labour market to migrants.

"We ought to have the courage to deregulate to a degree only seen so far in the United States," Enders wrote.

"It may seem hard to imagine now. But in the US, migrants are integrated successfully because they are allowed to work very soon after their arrival."

Enders called for exceptions to be made to Germany's new minimum wage rules and for greater flexibility in limited-term contracts.

"Hundreds of thousands of young people in the refugees centres should not be condemned to sitting around and doing nothing. They will only find an entry into the labour market if we open it up and make it flexible," Enders wrote.

"It is better for them to enter the labour market by way of mini-jobs or low-paid jobs than having no work, living on welfare and being condemned to idleness and frustration," Enders argued.

German industry has so far always insisted the arrival of a million refugees or more could be positive, given the country's rapidly ageing population and the ever-growing shortage of qualified labour.

But sceptical voices are starting to be raised about the potential costs of the huge influx to Europe's biggest economy.

While a lot of economists predict positive effects for the labour market in the long-term, some experts agree that the number of refugees could actually push the official jobless figures in Europe's powerhouse economy higher in the short-term.

Many of the new arrivals do not speak German and their qualifications do not necessarily match the needs of the market, where engineers and IT specialists are particularly in demand, critics say.

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© 2015 AFP

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