Innovative Best Practices



Name of the Practice

Work for Refugees


Labour market

Country - Area/Region

Germany / Berlin

Geographical Coverage



October 2015 (until 2023)

Level of the practice


Type of activity


Partnership implementing the initiative

Work for Refugees is a project of a not for profit non-denominational welfare organization (Paritätischen Wohlfahrt) in partnership with the Stiftung Zukunft (futures foundation). It is subsidized by the Berlin Administration for Integration, Work and Social Issues.

Contents of the practice

The main objective is to assess, advise and to support in the process of integration of new arrivals in berlin with a legal status of protected of possibly tolerated into the regular labour market. To this aim WfR provides a quality assessment of the applicants with respect to previous skills learned on the job and their talents and abilities to fit into the jobs available. This process and the support system in matching and integration into labour market extends beyond that which is normally possible for the local employment office. The goal to support individuals who need to fit their previous skills into jobs that may demand adjustments and additional learning.  Another objective is to provide the intercultural, linguistic and professional skills of the staff with refugee/ immigration backgrounds that will facilitate both trust, communication and counseling success.  Finally, to provide steady employment WfR enables a person to live independent from social welfare and the best opportunities to be in social interaction with locals, to learn the language of the country and to integrate themselves and their families.

WfR staff is selected based on their own special counseling, linguistic and intercultural skills as well as their expertise in the education and training backgrounds of the countries of the applicants.  The team gives special attention to the needs of the potential employer as well as the individual applicant in this process. The emphasis is on the quality of the matching of applicants to potential employers and jobs-kills described.

WfR is open to refugees seeking employment and may be reached over its homepage ( Work for refugees has access to a network of firms, employer associations, business organizations, local communal organizations and refugee housing shelters that are experienced with integration of refugees. Via Parität. Wohlfahrt it has equal access to the advisory boards of the Job Centers, NGOs and occupational training organizations. 

In addition to above WfR organizes regular Job Market Exchanges with potential employers monthly at the communal level.

Evaluation of the practice

The reasons to choose this practice are:

1. high-quality assessment of refugee skills;

2. matching skills with job description needs of employers,

3. support system for applicants and firms

4. transparency of its data collection on applicants and matching rates

5. teamwork between local experts on job skills, trained multilingual with refugee experience, to assess and support job applicants and employers

6. cultural access, individuality, quality time


Work for refugees has the following success factors:

1. emphasis on the quality of the placement process

2. time for individual assessment and support systems,

3. intercultural and assessment skills of the staff leads to enforcement of trust and communication between counselor and job applicant,

4. support system for applicants and employers in on-the-job situation, regular job fairs for job applicants and employers to meet and exchange information.

5. The only job placement scheme that operates on multiple levels with numerous partners and provides regular data on the matching process.   (Job Center statistics do not demonstrate a close-up of the characteristics of the refugee status employees and the employment positions held. 

Adaptability/Replicability to other contexts

Theoretically the good practice is adaptable to other contexts that have a dual educational system, such as Austria, Denmark and Switzerland, for example. Perhaps it could also be adapted to other central European countries that may also be seeking a skilled labour force.  Behind the changes that need to be made in this approach is the demographic decline that encourages employers to seek new ways to find skilled workers.  Extremely important are the intercultural skills and trust achieved via the employment and training of counselors with this background from refugee countries. 


Up-scaling is in continual process, since regular reports and feedback sessions are conducted with an advisory board of the welfare organization and the foundation, as well as the continual interaction with firms and occupational training organizations.

The main target group are men and women refugees with a protected, at times with a tolerated. status. 

Related Web site(s) of the practice

Related reports and resources developed by the practice

Newsletter available at


Contact Details