In many developing countries and emerging economies, the state of the job market is unstable. A poor economic situation, high unemployment and inadequate vocational training systems are hampering people's future prospects, especially young people. Many see migration as the only way out – in part because most of them are not aware of the training and work opportunities they actually already have at home.
Many young people from the Balkan states, the Maghreb and West Africa are drawn to West Europe in their search for a better future – and Germany is often their favoured destination. But it is not easy to succeed here. Anyone who comes via irregular channels has virtually no chance of being allowed to stay. And to get a work permit, people generally need to speak the language. However, in their home countries, they often lack sufficient access to information about official entry requirements.
Information is needed on job and training opportunities at home
And this is where migration advisory centres offer assistance. They are operated by the Centre for International Migration and Development (CIM) – a joint initiative of the German Development agency GIZ GmbH and the German Employment Agency’s International Placement Office (ZAV/BA). On behalf of the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), CIM operates the specialist advisory centres in cooperation with the national employment agencies in a range of countries, for example Albania, Kosovo and Tunisia.
At these centres, people can access customised advice on job and training opportunities in their country of origin and in Germany, too. Most of all, people are keen to find out about the options they have at home. 'The majority of young people who come here seeking advice actually want to stay in their own country,' says Alexander Seidl, Regional Coordinator in the Western Balkans for the migration advisory centres. 'Provided they have a future here.' There has been huge interest in the centres’ services – staff have advised more than 26,000 people since 2015 and over 2,500 jobseekers have taken part in job application training.
More than just advice: employment contracts secured at job fairs
These information centres are also an important source of advice for people who have already spent time working in Germany or another European country and now wish to find a good job in their home countries. Thanks to their experience abroad and their language skills, these returnees are very popular with potential employers – they just need to find out about each other.
And that's where German information centres comes in. Together with ZAV/BA, the centres organise job and career fairs where employers can recruit skilled workers and trainees. In May 2016, for example, some 1,200 vacancies were on offer on one single day at a fair in Pristina which was organised by one of the local centres. The event was a great success, with 430 people being able to sign a job contract on the spot.
To assist the local employment agencies to better coordinate supply and demand, the centres also advise on the professionalisation of careers and training guidance services. In rural areas especially, this often proves a challenge. In cooperation with employment agencies and vocational schools, the centres organise Information Days on site. Mobile teams of advisors put on smaller-scale information events in remote regions, travelling to market squares and youth centres to talk to jobseekers about the opportunities that await them.