Making Bavaria your new home
We want asylum seekers with a good chance of remaining here and recognised asylum seekers to make Bavaria their new home. To do this, they must learn German, get suitable qualifications for the labour market, take on responsibility and integrate into society. The support provided by the state is designed to help you help yourself.
Language is the key to integration
Settling in well
Those who wish to make Germany and Bavaria their new home must learn German. Being able to speak the national language is very important for successful integration. Immigrants can only be successful at school, in training and at work if they speak German. And it is only possible to get along with other people in all areas of life with a common language. People must be able to understand one another well. Children generally learn a second language much more easily than adults. Going to a day-care nursery can help your child to learn German through play, come into contact with other children and acquire the basic skills needed for attending school. Early childhood education represents a big chance for settling in well and is good for the development of your child and their later school years.
An integration course is an educational opportunity
Bavaria wishes to achieve integration through education and work. Immigrants who meet certain requirements, speak insufficient German and do not attend a school or vocational college have a right and obligation to enrol on an integration course. The course generally involves 600 hours of German lessons and 100 hours of orientation. This educates people about the laws and rules of living together in Germany. You must complete an application form at the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees to enrol on an integration course near you. The German course ends with an examination for the intermediate language proficiency level B1. All successful participants will receive a certificate.
Fit for the Bavarian labour market
Integrating into the labour market is both important and necessary. We want people to be able to finance their own lives. The Bavarian State Government has therefore signed the ‘Integration through Education and Work’ agreement with the Bavarian Industry Association and the employment administration authorities. The aim was to offer 20,000 refugees a work placement, apprenticeship or job by the end of 2016. By the autumn of 2016 the first part of this aim was not only achieved, but a suitable position was found for twice as many people. Almost 40,000 refugees were found a work placement, apprenticeship or job. By the end of 2019, 60,000 people are set to be integrated into the workplace.
In Bavaria there are also a number of other educational opportunities in a wide range of establishments. People who are unable to read or write, or are unable to do so sufficiently, should enrol on a literacy course. Young adults can learn in remedial classes at vocational colleges. For immigrants who already have professional training there is a range of further education courses that will help to make them fit for the Bavarian labour market. Seize your opportunity and improve your qualifications. You can only benefit!
Support and challenge
We want you to feel at home in Bavaria, get along with the local people and build a life for yourself. That is why it is important to understand the rules that everyone must observe here. Every person who lives here has rights and obligations.
Accordingly, the basic principle of ‘support and challenge’ applies to every citizen. At the same time, ‘support and challenge’ is the most fundamental rule of Bavaria’s integration policy. It means that society should help refugees and asylum seekers and simultaneously challenge them to meet their obligations and actively integrate.
Bavaria supports integration
As a recognised refugee or as an asylum seeker with a good chance of remaining in the country, you will be offered support to help you settle into life in Bavaria, learn the German language, find a job or training place and, once your refugee or asylum status has been granted, find a home and participate in society. We will help you to help yourself.
Bavaria demands integration
Everyone must observe the law and respect our free and democratic constitution and our values. Bavarian society works according to certain rules. Newcomers must adhere to them in the same way as those who have always lived in Bavaria or have done so for generations. People who are new to Bavaria must also try to learn German.
The Bavarian Integration Act
The Bavarian Integration Act (BayIntG) came into force on 1 January 2017. We introduced it to give both direction and an aim to integration. The BayIntG embraces the ‘support and challenge’ principle and provides clear rules for getting on well with one another. People who come to Bavaria must accept and support all binding requirements of the laws and system of values that are applicable here and take them as the standard that now applies to them. Immigrants who are entitled to stay in Bavaria permanently should understand and learn to appreciate the German language and our dominant culture and in return experience acceptance and tolerance.
The most important aspects of integration for migrants of all ages relate to understanding our values, learning the German language and seizing opportunities to learn and work.
The Bavarian Integration Act views integration as a duty of society as a whole. Everyone must play their part, including governmental and non-governmental institutions. The act highlights the important role of the local authorities in Bavaria, for example, and names the Bavarian Industry Association as a key partner.
Yet with the Bavarian Integration Act we are also making it clear that those who are not prepared to integrate must face sanctions. We have introduced the BayIntG to create obligations and we expressly require everyone who lives here to respect our laws and system of values.
Investing in integration
On 9 October 2015, the Bavarian State Government passed a resolution to introduce a special programme entitled ‘Supporting cohesion, encouraging integration’ over a number of years. Bavaria spends several million euros every year on integrating refugees and those entitled to asylum – on nurseries, schools, advisory centres and orientation courses, among other things, thereby providing the best possible support to help immigrants to integrate.
Find out more about the Integration Act.
The Bavarian Integration Act came into force on 1 January 2017. It was announced on 13 December 2016 in the Law and Ordinance Gazette (GVBl. p. 335, BayRS 26-6-A).
Values and living together in Bavaria
As a newcomer, belonging in Bavaria also means adhering to the existing rules and values. German law and the Bavarian constitution establish rules for democratic coexistence on the basis of equal rights. Even everyday forms of contact such as shaking hands as a way of greeting people are important. Refugees and those entitled to asylum have to accept these rules and live in accordance with them. We want them to show initiative and take responsibility for themselves and other people.
Spending free time together
Shared leisure activities make integration easier. In Germany, sport plays a major role, for example. Football, cycling, hiking, jogging, tennis, swimming, riding and many other kinds of sports can be enjoyed with others. People often get together at sports clubs, but there are also many other different kinds of clubs and associations and they provide very good opportunities to integrate. You will often be able to identify a club or association by the initials ‘e.V.’, which stand for eingetragener Verein, or registered club.
AN OVERVIEW OF THE DIFFERENT KINDS OF CLUBS AND ASSOCIATIONS:
- Sports clubs
- Voluntary fire service
- Traditional Bavarian clubs, such as a shooting club or young men’s association
- Hobby clubs such as a tenpin bowling or allotment club
- Music, singing, dancing or theatre clubs
- Cultural associations
- Environmental and conservation associations
- Self-help clubs
- Social and humanitarian associations
- Friends’ associations, e.g. for nurseries, youth centres, hospitals
Personal responsibility and the welfare state
Germany is a welfare state. The state supports its citizens and ensures that they have equal opportunities. Various benefits, which are essentially temporary, are available to people in need, such as unemployment benefit, housing allowance and income support. These benefits are financed by the country’s taxpayers.
The German social security system works according to the principle of solidarity. The strong help the weak; the healthy help the sick. Every citizen must look after themselves first and foremost and must do everything they can to support themselves independently. This principle applies to the native population as well as immigrants.
Volunteering: working for the community
Many people do voluntary work in Bavaria.
Volunteering means working unpaid of your own free will for a good cause. A very large number of people volunteer at sports clubs, in child and youth services, in the area of conservation or by helping refugees. Around 36 per cent of people in Bavaria over the age of 14 do voluntary work. That is over a third of all citizens aged 14 or older.
Refugees help refugees
Many refugees and those entitled to asylum also help on a voluntary basis and make an important contribution to integration. There is a huge demand for people to interpret for newcomers or accompany them to appointments with the authorities, for example. Immigrants who have lived in Bavaria for some time, speak German and are familiar with where they live can make it easier for others who have just arrived. Which department is responsible for a particular service? Where is the nearest supermarket? What is considered polite? You are warmly invited to share your knowledge with others who haven’t been here as long as you.
Where can I help?
If you wish to help asylum seekers immediately after their arrival in Germany, the people to approach are generally the managers of the reception centre. Alternatively, you can make enquiries with the local asylum support network or asylum or migration advisory centres, or you can ask charitable organisations such as Caritas, Diakonie, the AWO, the church community or the wider community where and how you can help. By doing so, you can give back the help you received and will also discover new ways of integrating – perhaps volunteering at a sports club, looking after children, or providing nursing services or elderly care. There are many possibilities. Bavaria is helping – and welcomes your help.