Germanys One Million New Migrants

03 Jun 2013

Immigration News

Over one million people moved into Germany during 2012, in the largest migratory flow into the country since 1995, figures from the German Federal Statistics office revealed.

This has been mainly due to an influx from southern European countries, who have been badly affected by lingering high unemployment and low economic growth, in a protracted recovery from recession.

From Spain just over 9,000 have moved in to Germany, a 45% increase from  2011, slightly larger than the 43%  increase who came in from Greece, estimated at just over 10,000, and Portugal where more than 4,000 decided to relocate to Europe’s most successful economic power.

Numerically the most significant migratory flow was from Italy, where more than 12,000 have crossed the Alps into Germany, although in percentage terms it was a lower increase of 40% from two years ago.

Katharina Senge, coordinator for immigration and integration for the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung think tank said that, “What we know about this new generation of European immigrants is, that they are younger and better qualified than the average of the German population. I would call this a win-win-win-situation for these young people, for Germany, but also for the countries of origin. Those young people cannot wait for the situation in their countries to change. They need to work, to develop their skills, to gain professional experience.”

There were also more immigrants that arrived from those countries who were acceded into the EU in 2004 and 2007, the largest increase from Slovenia where 2,000 people moved away.

They were joined by 13,000 from Hungary and from Poland; who gained the right for freedom of movement to enter into the German labour market in 2011.

For Bulgarians and Romanians, where 7,000 and 21,000 migrated last year into Germany respectively, they will receive full freedom of movement to work in Germany from the beginning next year. 

Currently they are benefiting from a previous loosening of restrictions, that included skilled workers with a university degree whose employment corresponds to their qualifications, those who are employed for seasonal work, and for professional in-firm training.

The latest figures continue the trends that were recorded in data as part of the German Federal Statistic Office’s Statistical Yearbook for 2012, that reported the foreign population for 2011 had significantly grown by over 25% from Bulgaria and from Romania.

From Hungary that was an increase of 20%, and from Poland just under 12%; where in contrast the flows from southern Europe were miniscule in comparison to the latest figures, there were only 4.5% more coming from Spain and an 0.5% increase from Italy, highlighting the drastic change in migratory culture for Germany throughout last year.

So far there has been little dissent over the increase of immigration as Katharina Senge continued: “Immigration has constantly increased during the last years and, in 2012, almost reached the level of 1995. Still in 2008 and 2009 the number of immigrants was outnumbered by the people who left Germany.

“The social climate is very different now from the nineties. Due to the reunification the German society experienced a drastic transformation process and high unemployment rates back then. At the same time many asylum seekers came to Germany. Those processes caused uncertainty and a defensive attitude towards immigrants, today we need the immigration of skilled and creative people .”

Foreign workers have been steadily becoming a larger part of the labour market in Germany, research from a micro censuses taken every year concluded that in 2011 that there were 1.25 million migrant workers in 2005 that grew to 1.48 million in 2011. At the same time the general population has been dwindling, according to the World Bank  from 82.5 million in 2004 down to 81.7 million in 2012.

Figures that suggest foreign labour may continue to grow to make up the numbers in the EU’s biggest economy. “I think that this will be the case.” added Katharina Senge. “We need the immigration of highly skilled foreign workers now as well as in the future, but it must be considered, that the need of highly skilled workers varies a lot from sector to sector and from region to region. We see skills shortages for example in technological businesses, in engineering and research, another branch that suffers skills shortages is the health care segment. In the future we will need to attract also more ‘medium’ skilled immigrants too, like care nurses and mechanics.”



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