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Data Set Description

The “Refugees in Germany” survey is part of a research project commissioned by the German Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (BMAS) under the title of “Accompanying evaluation of labor market programs to integrate refugees”.

Aim and Conceptualisation

The aim of the research project was to analyze how effective and efficient the central labor market programs in the legal areas of SGB II and SGB III are with regard to the labor market integration and social participation of refugees who arrived in Germany since 2015.

A central component of this project was a survey of refugees (“Refugees in Germany”), which is conceptually related to the (IAB-BAMF-SOEP Survey of Refugees), that has been running since 2016. In contrast to the IAB-BAMF-SOEP Survey of Refugees, however, it is not a household survey, but an individual survey that is not representative of the refugee population in Germany. It is based on a gross sample of refugees who arrived in Germany in 2015 or later, and had started or could have started one of five different types of labor market integration programs between August 1, 2017 and September 11, 2018. The focus is on the following five programs: activation measures (employer-based or with training company), occupational choice and apprenticeship measures (pre-entry support and qualifications or accompanying training support), measures for further vocational training, employment subsidies, and job creation schemes. The gross sample of program participants and non-participants, on which the survey is based, was obtained from administrative data held by the German Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit).

The sample included in the survey basically consists of two main groups: a treatment group and a control group. The treatment group (participants) is divided into five sub-populations to represent participants in the five program types to be evaluated. The control group includes people who, at least in principle, have a sufficient probability of participating in the program, but who actually did not participate at the time the address was selected. The group of these non-participants is divided into two subpopulations and contains either people who are assigned to exactly one of the program types or who are eligible for two of the program types.


The survey was conducted in two waves of interviews. All interviews were conducted face-to-face via computer assisted personal interviews (CAPI). Fieldwork for the first wave of the survey lasted from July 2018 until July 2019, and generated 9,523 net cases at the end of wave 1.
At the end of the first interview, all respondents were asked if they are willing to participate again in this survey by giving another interview several months later. Participants were also asked if they would consent to the linking of their survey data with administrative data held by the German Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit) for the purposes of scientific analysis.

The fieldwork for wave 2 began in mid-January 2020. Due to the emerging pandemic (Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19), fieldwork was temporarily suspended as part of the first nationwide lockdown at the end of March 2020. Fieldwork was resumed in mid-September 2020 until mid-December 2020. In the end, 4,526 cases could be realized in the second survey wave.

In addition, the design of the study was very well tailored to the target group of refugees. Specific measures included a special interviewer staff with a high proportion of Arabic-speaking interviewers, a multilingual questionnaire and accompanying documents, an interpreter hotline as well as a cash incentive of €15 for participation.


The main survey topics comprise the background of the interviewed refugees (way to Germany, education and work experience abroad); length of stay in Germany; labor market and educational experiences in Germany (employment, vocational training, internships, attending general schools and studying); help for integration (language courses, vocational orientation, competence assessment and activation, support related to vocational training, aids accompanying the internship); economic situation (finances, housing); and social participation (current language skills, social contacts, normal everyday life, health and well-being, labor market orientation and labor market knowledge, identification with Germany, personality traits and culture).

Date Created: 2022-05-10

Scope of Data Set


Time Periods: July 2018 - December 2020


Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), Refugees in Germany (GiD). Research Data Center of IZA (IDSC).

Researchers working with the “IZA Refugees in Germany” survey are obligated to acknowledge the data base and its documentation within their publications, including the DOI, by using this reference.



Restricted Access

  1. Bonin, Holger (IZA)
  2. Krause-Pilatus, Annabelle (IZA)
  3. Rinne, Ulf (IZA)
  1. Institute of Labor Εconomics (IZA)
  2. Institute for Employment Research (IAB)
  3. German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin)
  4. Institute for Work Skills and Training (IAQ)
  5. Institute for Applied Economic Research (IAW)
  6. Leibniz Institute for Economic Research (RWI)
  7. Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs - Germany (Funding)

Longitudinal survey data


Face-to-face interview, Personal Interview


Access to the data is provided to non-for-profit research, replication and teaching purposes. The data is available from the Research Data Center of IZA (IDSC).
Please contact IDSC for any access requests.

Geographic Coverage: