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Berlin authorities are experiencing a shortage of skilled labour

Berlin wants to protect Ukrainian refugees from labour exploitation

Berlin wants to protect Ukrainian refugees from labour exploitation

They are often the target of job offers with poor working conditions in an unregulated environment

Today, Berlin’s Labour Senator, Katja Kipping, announced that more and more Ukrainian refugees could face unfair labour practices and wage dumping as they try to build their new lives across the European Union. She expressed her concern that Ukrainian refugees were targeted by offers with very poor working conditions in an unregulated environment.

Senator Kipping also explained that this issue was a major focus of Berlin’s labour authorities, as, according to their data, the German capital needs skilled labour. This is due to a yearly growth in jobs, combined with a slow dip in unemployment.

To increase the protection against wage dumping, underqualified, exploitative or undocumented work, she advised refugees who have questions about suspicious offers to turn to the Berlin Advice Center for Migration and Good Work (Berliner Beratungszentrum für Migration und Gute Arbeit), where they can receive multi-language assistance, including in Ukrainian.

Senator Kipping underlined that Ukrainian refugees in Berlin can register with the city’s authorities, which would help them in finding well-paid jobs with good conditions that match their qualifications. Alternatively, they can also take advantage of Berlin’s integration courses in the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (Bundesamtes für Migration und Flüchtlinge).

Berlin’s labour market is ready for the influx

According to the UN’s Human Rights Council, a staggering 5.2 million Ukrainians have left the country since the start of Russia’s invasion, with 58,000 of them already registered in Berlin.

At the same time, the Institute for Labour Market and Occupational Research (Instituts für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung) published a report that the city needed a continuous stream of skilled workers at the start of April, having the refugee situation in mind.

In fact, the city has stated that with employment growth of 2.7% compared to 2021, the city is showing some of the best labour metrics in the entire county, especially for people looking for work. This is all good news for people coming from Ukraine, as due to an EU-wide directive, refugees have direct access to the labour market in the bloc.

Refugees who have found their own accommodation or have registered with Berlin’s State Office of Refugee Affairs can apply for a residence permit, which would then let them get a work permit. Getting both permits would then help them avoid some of the employers’ predatory practices like unfair wages, unpaid hours and blank contracts.

Senator Katja Kipping was quoted in a press release, saying: "Refugees from Ukraine currently have good chances of finding a job in Berlin. We want to make it easier for them to access the job and training market and inform them about their rights.”

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