Das folgende Interview zum Thema „Migration in Velbert“ wurde im Rahmen des Projektkurses am 10.05.2013 durchgeführt. Wir bedanken uns an dieser Stelle sehr herzlich bei der Integrationsbeauftragten der Stadt Velbert, Frau Helene Latz, die sich bereit erklärt hat, dieses Interview mit drei Schülern (Victoria Best, Felix Geiger und Philipp Heuer) des Projektkurses, durchzuführen. Im folgenden wird das Interview in englischer Sprache und gekürzt wiedergegeben:
Students: What are the reasons for migrants to come to Velbert and from which countries do they come?
Ms. Latz: If you are talking about migration, it is important to keep in mind that it is not caused by just one reason. […] People, who migrate are always influenced by factors, that made them move and that made them come, so in theory called „push and pull factors“. […] An example fort his is the job migration, which was important for the last decades because of recruitment agreements signed with other countries, such as Italy, Spain, Greece, Turkey and former Yoguslavia.
[Besides that] we have people as migrants, who come from crisis areas with economic problems, war, political persecution and from countries which violate human rights. There are also people, who come to join their families with members already living in Velbert the wife, husband, etc. Others follow, like relatives. People might also come because of education, to study but because we don’t have a university, this doesn’t really apply for Velbert. But I know of cases where young people came here for an apprenticeship. And there are the ethnic German resettlers from the former Soviet Union or Poland, those who are of German origin and „return“ to their fatherland.
But you have to look closer at this since this might not be their only reason, not just to return to their fatherland, but also for economic reasons or the hope for a better future. And at the moment there are many coming from southern Europe, Portugal and Spain, skilled workers that are supported by their companies to learn German, find a housing and move. So we again experience a work migration.
Students: When did most of the migrants come and why exactly then?
Ms Latz: It’s the year 1955, when the first recruitment agreement between Germany and Italy was signed. From then on the „Guest Workers“ came. Other agreements followed: 1960 with Greece or 1961 with Turkey. There are over 100 nations in Velbert.
Looking at the exact numbers, people from Turkey make up the biggest group, followed by Poland, then Greece and Italy. For the people from Poland you have to note that there are the ethnic Germans returning. At the end of the 19th century there was a big movement from Poland to the Ruhrarea for working but also because it was then annexed by Prussia. […] In the mid of the 90’s the ethnicGermans came back and [..] now we have the people from southern Europe but also from Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia. […]
You have to be careful looking at numbers, saying „which group is the largest“, „how many from which group“, etc. because often in statistics only people with foreign citizenship are included. So those who have a foreign passport but not those who were naturalized or born here with foreign parents. So always be careful what numbers you have, not to make wrong conclusions.[…]
Students: What is done for the immigrants to support and integrate them and how successful is it?
Ms. Latz: I want to go back in history for this, to understand how it went in Velbert. In the year 2007 a lot of organisations, welfare, administration, politics, clubs have gathered to the alliance of integration with topics like sports, education, raising, housing, economy and jobs as seen in this brochure. These organisations have agreed on creating a long-term integration concept for the town of Velbert, and for this creation there is one very important tool, the monitoring, so analysing on a continuous and regular basis showing what’s happening with the people who have a migrant background based on criteria such as the level of education, rate of unemployment, other employment statistics, how many pupils reach which qualification and so on. And based on these predictions and countermeasurements, it can be generated and modified because integration is not a static, but running progress; there are always new aspects to be considered.
What’s also important is that a lot of groups have to work together, not only the administration, or politics, but everyone, the citizens, migrants, self-organisations, local welfare, so that integration is considered by everyone as a progress, which must be tackled by everyone.
I have a saying in my head, which is of African origin; it says: „If you want to go fast, go on your own. If you want to go far, go with others.“ […] Integration is an enduring progress. […] If you want to reach a long-term goal, you have to include all different parts of the society to be successful.
I will now name a few good examples of projects created by the alliance of the different organisations, for example the „Integration Compass“, that is, new immigrants, who come to Velbert, receive short and comprehensible information about the first steps and where to be helped. There is migration advice for adults 27 years onwards done by the „Caritas“ and the „Youth Migration Service“ by the „Internationaler Bund“; those are two very important contact points for migrants, getting in touch first to immediate, ask questions and taken by the hand by the helpers.
Considering self-organisation, for example the Turkish community and the Greek community are very well structured and they do very much integration work. There is the „Prize of Integration“ to include the citizens into the integration, that means that there is an announcement every year in co-operation with the „Sparkasse“ (bank of town), so there is money to support this. The projects and ideas of individuals but also of initiatives/clubs are backed financially.
And one example from the area of education, raising, economy and work is the project „Potentials of Velbert“ or related projects. For example at a Lower Secondary School the „Martin Luther King School“, where adolescents and young adults, who are already in a further education or who are employed and who have a migrant background then try to motivate young pupils to find a further education or a job, so they have „role models“ motivating and as a source of help on the way to the job and to success.
Those projects which were subtile like the „International Women’s Breakfast“, where women of a lot of origins assemble to exchange while having a breakfast and listening to technical lectures or other short presentations from different advice centers to get support and advice. There is the project „Tables of Parents“, where parents with migration background go to families, which is similar to a Tupperware party; one hosts an evening at his or her home to which one of the trained parents come. Trained here for a specific topic, for example the educational system or upbringing, they go to the parents, who host this and invite their neighbors, relatives and friends, and then they talk in a homely atmosphere, discussing where to get help and create the first impulses to get certain things done or resolve problems. We have help for asylum seekers nearby made possible by the „AWO“. So nobody waits until people, who need help, come but they are actively going to them. […]
And concluding: If you want to evaluate a programme’s success, you have to keep in mind that on the one hand there is an individual side, that means that there has to be an openness to new things by the immigrants but there has to be the infrastructure to allow them to do this. So there is an individual and an infrastructural side that depend on each other. There has to be a continuity: local contact persons, programmes, projects and in the end it is difficult to speak of a finite state of success. There are more people to come and new problems to solve. That what has happened, has to be evaluated very positively but the challenges exist like before and there will be much to do in the future.
Students: What effects do immigrants have on the demography of Velbert?
Ms Latz: […]. The numbers fluctuate and there are sources only considering foreign citizens here. I’ve found one number about those with a migration background, including people, who are either first or secondary foreign citizens. So this includes double citizenships. On the complete population, there is a share of 18.4% by 2008, as I said, including those with a German and a foreign citizenship. Every third child has a migrant background, one third of the people between 0 and 3. There are many sources on the Internet, not specifically for Velbert, but in general, which say that half of the children are from a family with a migrant background. For the 3 to 6 year-old there is a share of 25% and for those up to 50 years about 20% and from 80 on at 3%, so not much. Since 2006 there is a decline for the younger people, even for those with a migrant background. […]
[…] In Velbert, there is one of the biggest growth of the population of people over 65, so there is a similar movement that is like the one of the local population. Nevertheless, there are more young than old people. But I still wouldn’t make wrong conclusions, saying that in long-term, the migrants will make the population young again. It is really depending on the level of education in language. I’ve already said that every third child has a migrant background, but two thirds of them speak another language than German. So there is a big need for changing that to get a smooth transition between kindergarten and primary school, primary school and secondary school. I’ve got numbers for schooling 2008/2009 on the one hand refering to the adolescents with foreign citizenship, so those with a foreign passport, who then leave school without a lower qualification. For those without, the percentage is 15.1%, in contrast to 6.8% for those without a migrant background.
[…] There are less migrants getting an „Abitur“, 16.4% of the migrants, compared to the domestic people with 33.6%. But you have to say that there is a big difference between genders for the adolescents with foreign citizenship. There, the girls are more likely to do a higher education; 10.1% to 22.5%. It’s a notable difference. A special situation in Velbert is at the special-needs schools with the emphasis on learning with a big share of adolescents with a foreign background: about 40%.
[…] Concerning the apprenticeships in companies you can say that adolescents and young adults coming from school as migrants are less likely to get a place there. In comparison to domestic pupils the relation is 9% to 15.7%. But young women are even less likely than young men, with a foreign citizenship. So there is a paradox: Girls from migrant families are better in school but start less likely an apprenticeship. There may be several reasons fort his.
To the agglomerations: In Velbert, assuming 100% is the total amount of migrants in Velbert, there are 74.1% in the center of Velbert mostly Turkish migrants, in Langenberg 9.9% mostly Polish and in Neviges 16% mostly Greek. […]
Students: Is there, besides immigration, also emigration from Velbert?
Ms. Latz: There is emigration. Since 2008 we have a negative balance, so more people leave than come. It is not severe, but there is emigration. But again you have to be careful with the statistics. Just because a foreign citizen is removed, that doesn’t mean the person left Velbert. There is the possibility that the person naturalized, but we have a decline of new citizens since 2008. […]
Students: How do immigrants influence the economy of Velbert?
Ms Latz: […] For the income you have to differentiate those contributing to the social insurance, working somewhere and paying their taxes from those, who are self-employed, who pay a commercial tax. For the first group, […] the percentage for foreigners is 39.6% are employed, compared to the domestic people of whom 54.5% are employed. For the women with a foreign passport, there are many less employed, in comparison to the German women 28.5% to 49.3%. But for the foreign women, there are many more working in mini-jobs 50% to 27.9% in comparison to the German women. For the self-employed people you have to say that in general there is a decline of self-employment, not depending on the citizenship.
Since 2006, respectively the period between 2006 and 2008, you can see a big decline of new registrations, that means fewer foreign people want to be self-employed. In 2006 there were 30.6% of foreign people registered, in 2008 only 10.5%, that’s again a difference. And the most self-employed are from Turkey or from Poland. In statistics to the rate of unemployment you have to say that foreign people are twice as much unemployed (13.5% to 5.5%). And if you look at the numbers, you will see fluctuating numbers depending on the source. […] We also have a rate of youth unemployment, which is for young people between 15 and 25 with foreign citizenship 6% and for those without it, less than 4%.
For the people who receive social benefits, there are about 25% who are dependend on this. You have to see whether those people are getting a bit more because their wage is too low, so they still need the help or if those people are not working at all. Unfortunately, I don’t have numbers for this. In comparison to the Germans 25% to 8% receive long-term social benefits. The children and adolescents from foreign families are extremely affected by this because they then have to rely on money from social insurances and this situation also has an effect on the older people, so that the old-age poverty of the foreign people is more distinctive and will be even more. […]
Students: How important are immigrants for Velbert?
Ms Latz: So, when I’ve read that question I had to chuckle because I would ask the question differently: „How important are people for a town?“ Without people, there is no town or urban structure and people with migrant background are a fixed part of the population of Velbert, so for me there is the question „How important are people for a town?“. They are important and we have, because of the development of society, because of Globalisation, the cohabit of people from different cultures, from different social contexts.
That’s more and more becoming daily life and today it is very important, whether in Velbert or a different town, to accept this diversity and see potentials of the given population making the best out of it. Co-operating is very important in this context. I want to point to the „carta of diversity“ that was signed by Velbert to go the first step on the way to the active support of diversity, no matter if for the immigration background, no matter if for other specific differences, so that you accept this diversity and support and use it for the future because only that way I see a future for living together at all, not depending on the town, not depending on the country.
Students: Thank you very much for the interview, Ms Latz. We wish you all the best for your future.