Davos: Migrant Crisis a ‘Valuable Opportunity’ For Business, Germany Handling Migration ‘Exceedingly Well’

Germany has handled the migrant crisis “exceedingly well” and other countries should learn from its example, a senior partner at PwC Germany has said.

Writing ahead of the World Economic Forum gathering of leaders in Davos, Switzerland, this week, Norbert Winklejohann has lauded Germany’s response to the migrant crisis, which saw more than 1 in 20 of the world’s 20 million refugees arrive in the country in 2015, suggesting other countries could learn from Germany’s example.

“Germany has not buckled. On the contrary, it has handled the pressure exceedingly well, proving that through sustained collaboration among governments, business, and civil society, countries can develop effective approaches to meeting the needs of refugees and the countries that receive them,” he said.

His argument builds upon a broader theme being discussed by politicians and leaders in Davos this week, namely that globalisation is of benefit to business, and therefore to citizens through increased revenue. In this vein, Winklejohann argued that the migrant crisis is a “valuable opportunity” for businesses and migrants alike, which must not be squandered.

“Companies that are not afraid of language barriers and cultural differences early in the integration process are rewarded with the chance to train and hire people who are highly motivated and often highly skilled. For companies facing skills shortages, this should be particularly tempting. Manufacturing, health care, and nursing are likely to benefit the most from the growth in the labour pool.”

He concluded: “As we have seen in Germany, business can play a major role in supporting national and local governments, thereby helping the refugees, themselves, and the wider economy. In that sense, the refugee crisis really is a valuable opportunity. For refugees’ sake – and our own – we should not squander it.”

In fact, a study by Kiel-based Institute for World Economics estimated that only two per cent of the migrants arriving in Germany in 2015 were employable, while two thirds could neither read nor write.

Similarly, a survey by the Frankfurter Allgemeiner Zeitung last June found that, of the top 30 companies on the German stock exchange (DAX), who between them employ four million people, just three had hired any migrants arriving in 2015.

Fifty migrants had been hired by the Post Office, while Software giant SAP and pharmaceutical manufacturer Merck had hired two each.

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