Working in Frankfurt
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People who migrate to Germany face various forms of exploitation and discrimination in the labour market, especially in the low-wage sector. These can be exacerbated by their residence status. In the following audio, Mariam Emanuel reports on her experiences with the priority check or »labor-market test« (Vorrangprüfung) that applied in her case when she came to Germany:
The priority check/labor-market test initially links residence status to a specific employment contract. (For more information, see the station on the authority for foreigners). In the following audio Mariam Emanuel explains which consequences these regulations had on her everyday working experience:
Stella also had to go through this procedure to get a residence permit in Germany. In the following video, she talks about her experiences with the residence regulations and how they have affected her everyday work:
After one year, Stella is allowed to change her employer. However, she still experiences exploitation, discrimination and arbitrariness at the hands of their employers.
Many people who have to live and work under such conditions resist them and join forces with other people. Project Shelter Frankfurt is an initiative in which people organise together against these conditions. For more information, see the station on the Paradieshof.
The compulsion to work precariously
People who migrate to Germany and/or are racialized ⊕ are often forced to take precarious jobs and to demand their labour rights again and again. At the same time, they are under greater pressure to conform to society’s ideal of performance, as their life in Germany is not taken for granted. This manifests itself, for example, in the fact that they are repeatedly pressured to explain and justify their »being here« and their family history at work, at school or in everyday situations. Moreover, residence permits are often linked to a specific employment relationship and already existing degrees or knowledge are not recognised. Various economic, racist and/or sexist structures thus impede individual efforts to build a better life or make it unattainable because access to education or language acquisition is difficult. You can find more on this in our station to the authority for foreigners.
Especially in the low-wage sector in the hotel and catering industry or care work, the workload often exceeds physical and psychological limits. Often, applicable labour laws are not respected and the wage is often barely enough to make ends meet. Many people do not want to work under these conditions — at the same time, many workers are wanted in these sectors. The labor-market test is thus a state tool to force people into these jobs and to limit their room for manoeuvre.
Crises and grey areas
In the wake of crises, such as the global economic crisis of 2008 or as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, it can be observed once again that wage employment relationships in the above-mentioned sectors are often very precarious and people in these sectors often lose their jobs first. Even more precarious are those who live and work in illegalised or informal employment due to their legally assigned status. Here, the boundaries between legal and illegalised ⊕ employment are often blurred and people are stuck in grey areas. For example, some companies exploit people in an undocumented employment relationship while the priority check of the employment contract by the authorities is ongoing. This can further undermine already low standards of working conditions or pay.
Actively opposing these conditions
Many people do not accept this situation and become active and defend themselves: they form networks in which they exchange information about employers, think about strategies against bad employers and tell each other about new jobs. Project Shelter also offers such a network. While the group fights for a self-managed migrant centre (this fight is described in the station Paradieshof), the activists also empower themselves in workshops on union organising and labour law, or support each other in (legal) disputes with employers and exchange information about them
We write illegalised and not illegal. It is important for us to understand that this legal category is socially made and assigned, and that a state of affairs or a person does not bring illegality as a characteristic in itself.
In racism research, the term »racialised« describes the categorisation and hierarchisation of social groups as well as the attribution of meaning to certain characteristics of these groups.
Deportation prisons and the resistance against them
The authority for foreigners
The difficult way to both a residence and working permit
Working in Frankfurt
The fight for workers’ rights
Racial Profiling as a constant threat
The fight for a selforganised migrant center
The attack in Hanau
Against racist terror and oblivion
Important hub for migrant life
Mixtape Migration is financed by your donations
The tour is free for everyone and is accessible to as many people as possible. At the same time, we are dependent on donations and support — we want to make the tour better known and, in a second step, expand it to include additional topics and stations.
The project is designed, organized and carried out by the non-profit association turn the corner. turn the corner is committed to a society in which we together and consciously shape how we want to live and work independently. A society in which people can be different without coercion. Learn more about turn the corner.