German Social Worker Talks on Syrian Refugees 02

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Joachim Rueffer is a social worker at the Berlin-based association Kommt Mit e V. He explains that a great part of the Syrian refugees arriving in Berlin and Germany are doctors, engineers, teachers, and skilled workers. Those people are in some cases forced to live in public gyms used by the Berlin administration to cope with the high influx of asylum seekers arriving in the German capital. The German authorities do not automatically recognized Syrian asylum seekers’ qualifications, and long bureaucratic procedures postpone the access to the job market by years. A waterlogged real estate market in Berlin also makes it hard to find a flat at a cost that the social welfare office is willing to sustain. Syrian refugees make up by far the largest foreign group asking for asylum in Germany.


  1. Medium shot
  2. Interview with the social worker


  1. soundbite (German )
    Joachim Rueffer , Social worker: We have different groups of Syrian refugees, asylum seekers will be brought first in an accommodation centre. The procedure for granting asylum lasts three, seven or eight months and the (Syrian) asylum seekers have a high chance to get their status accepted. In principle after three months they can look for their own flat, and the social assistance office would sustain the cost. However it is difficult to find a flat because the real estate market in Berlin offers few bargains that match the price the social office would finance. That means that it is hard to find a flat for the group (of Syrians) as well as for other groups that arrive in Berlin, but in principle it is possible and some also succeed in finding one.