There are different ways for people to go back home and re-establish good job prospects. Advice centres provide information on local work and training opportunities. Further education and training measures help people improve their labour market prospects. So far, around 611,000 individual support measures have been created and advisory sessions carried out. In addition, around 190,000 people have found jobs or have received support to set up a business, including more than 33,800 returnees.
‘I wasn’t aware of the opportunities I have in my home country,’ says a delighted Wissem. The German-Tunisian advice centre, which the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH operates together with the Tunisian employment agency, informed him about his professional options and helped him find a job. He now works in a German call centre in Tunis and has a regular contract including social security and paid vacation – things that he never had in the 15 years he spent in Europe.
Wissem knows what it feels like to have no prospects. And how tempting the yearning to have a better life can be. In 2002, he left his home country, because there is high unemployment in Tunisia. This is why he set off for Europe in the hope of finding work. After spending time in Italy, France and Germany, his application for asylum was turned down so Wissem, who is now 35, had to return to Tunisia. The language skills he learned during his time in Europe now serve him well. There are many call centres in Tunisia looking to hire applicants with his skills.
Tunisia is just one of many countries with high rates of unemployment. In particular, young people from economically underdeveloped regions see migration as the only means of escape. However, local opportunities exist – but there is a lack of information on employment and training options. Advice centres like the one in Tunis fill this void.
They provide information on education and training options, job opportunities in the region and the requirements for legal migration to Germany. The centres also help returnees from abroad to reenter the local labour market and to reintegrate into society. The staff there provide one-to-one advice and can, for instance, source tailored training measures and help those they are advising to set up their own local businesses.
At present, GIZ is operating a total of 10 centres in Afghanistan, Albania, Ghana, Iraq, Kosovo, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Serbia and Tunisia on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), in each case cooperating with the national labour administrations. The centres, which have gradually been developed since 2015, have attracted considerable interest. To date, around 73,000 advisory sessions have been held, including over 13,500 with people who have returned to their home country.
However, the advice centres are only one element of BMZ's ‘Returning to new opportunities’ programme. They work closely with actors from civil society, private companies, international organisations and institutions from local partner countries, as well as with other projects from German development cooperation. Working in cooperation with local partners, these projects offer a large number of training and education opportunities for applicants to gain further qualifications in their existing line of work, thus allowing them to improve their labour market prospects. This is because certain sectors such as IT or finance are often looking for personnel but do not find any qualified applicants. In addition, founders' training assists those who are interested to become self-employed.
Thanks to support from these projects, more than 611,000 of these ‘fresh starts’ have been created and advisory sessions carried out since mid-2017. Furthermore, more than 190,000 people, including around 33,800 returnees, have been able to find a job or have received support to set up a business.
Even when they are still in Germany, people who are interested in returning can obtain advice on a fresh start in their home country. To make this possible, GIZ works closely with municipalities and supports services provided by registered charities or social partners.
Reintegration scouts build bridges between returnee advice in Germany and services in the returnees' home countries in selected municipalities and at church and social agencies such as Caritas and AWO. The scouts support advice centres by establishing contact with one-stop shops in the respective countries. They provide information on employment prospects and services in the home countries – such as guidance on starting up a business or training and education courses. They also connect the people who want to return home with their local advice centres.
Wissem is glad that he returned to Tunisia and that he was able, with the support of the advice centre, to get settled in his home country. ‘In Europe I didn’t really have a plan. Here in Tunisia, my head is clear, I have a stable job and a settled life.’
Last update: March 2020