(Main Picture: German Immigration © marcmo on Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
In 2013, the Federal Statistacal Offices (Destatis) reported that 1,226,000 people arrived in Germany while 789,000 left, leading to a net increase of 437,000. With a 38% increase in immigration in 2012, Germany is experiencing unparalleled immigration influx. Thomas Liebig, an expert on international migration calls the new movement, “a boom – without any exaggeration….no other OECD country experienced such a rise”.
In 2009, Germany ranked 8th as a migrant destination. Germany’s booming economy compared to the recessions many other EU countries experienced propelled Germany into the top spot for immigration.
The bulk of new migrants come from EU countries, totaling 727,000 people. Poland is the top country of origin with 189,000 migrants living in Germany. The addition of Bulgaria and Romania to the EU also bolstered immigration numbers.
With this new spike in immigration, Germany makes moves to discourage migrants moving to Germany without work. A new draft proposal could give Germany the ability to deport foreigners, including EU citizens, within 3 months if they do not find a job. “The EU is not a social-welfare union” Angel Merkel reported to Passauer Neue Presse. “We do not want to pay Hartz IV (social welfare paymernts) to EU citizens who are residing in Germany solely for the purpose of looking for work,” she added.
The recent European Parliament elections echo this sentiment. In France, the anti-immigration party The Front Nation, took 25% of the votes. Denmark’s Danish People’s party took 27%, running on platform to curb EU benefits to foreigners and to tighten border control. Germany itself elected its first neo-Nazi member of the European Parliament.
However, there seems to be people who still embrace immigration as a means to keep the Germany economy booming. By 2050, a third of Germany’s population will be above the age of 65, according to government data. The population is expected to shrink a quarter as a result. With Germany’s aging and shrinking population, migrants will need to fill the gaps in the German economy.
Prominent politicians in Germany are also looking to create more tolerance to foreigners in Germany. President Joachim Gauck explains “… how bizarre it is that some people cling to the idea that there could be such a thing as a homogenous, closed, single-colored Germany…it’s not easy to grasp what it is to be German – and it keeps changing.”