Eurozone crisis causes surge of immigration to Germany
Germany has seen its popularity as an expat destination soar as an influx of people from the crisis-hit southern European countries such as Greece, Spain and Italy arrived in the country in search of work. The number of arrivals has created the biggest surge in German immigration in nearly 20 years.
According to the German Federal Statistics Office, the number of immigrants arriving in Germany hit 1.081 million in 2012, up 13% from 2011 and the highest number since 1995.
The majority of immigrants came from struggling countries in Eastern and Southern Europe as people seek work and to escape the struggles of deep recession and austerity measures. Unemployment in some southern nations has topped 26% and with youth unemployment reaching above 50% many of the immigrants are young people seeking work.
The number of immigrants coming from Spain, Portugal, Greece and Italy soared by 40% compared to the previous year.
“The rise in immigration from EU countries hit by the financial and debt crisis is particularly strong,” the Statistics Office said.
The largest source of immigrants however came from Poland and Romania with 184,325 and 116,964 respectively. Non-EU nations such as the USA, Turkey, China and Russia were the biggest contributors to immigration from outside of Europe.
The surge is good news for the German government who was warned by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development that Germany needed to attract more skilled workers or face severe shortages of labour within a decade.
As a result the German government has taken steps to make the country more welcoming for foreign workers making it an ideal place to move too if you’re searching for work.
Among the new measures being introduced to make Germany more migrant friendly are a welcome bag, a Smartphone app and the offer of personal counselling prior to a newcomer’s arrival in the country.
The bag contains informational material, important Internet addresses and telephone numbers, while the measure will hope to make a new arrival’s first stop in Germany a welcome centre rather than the immigration office.
Unemployment in Germany currently stands at 6.9% and is close to hitting a post-reunification low, making it one of the best nations in Europe for finding work. In comparison more than one in four workers in Spain and Greece are out of work.