Prof. Matthew Brown
October 18th, 2013
Immigration in Germany
Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a federal parliamentary republic in Western-Central Europe. Germany is one of the major political and economic powers on the European continent and is an attractive destination for hundreds-of-thousands of immigrants from all over the world. Germany is the most populous country in the European Union; about eighty-two million people live on German territory. However, the population pyramid of Germany clearly shows the declining population growth since the 2000s. As a result, the government has had to change its immigration policy from refusal to reluctance, giving more and more immigrants the opportunity to enter Germany. Legal and illegal immigrants make their contribution to Germany society, but also create problems that need to be solved. Germany, along with the other countries in Europe, need immigrants. The main reasons are the characteristics of demographic developments in Germany, which include the declining population growth, an aging society, and an overall increase in life expectancy. According to the Germany population growth table provided by the World Bank, Germany has experienced a negative population growth rate from 2004 to 2011. The main cause of this phenomenon is primarily the low birth rate in the country. Since 1975, the birth rate has been approximately 1.3 children per woman, which means that for thirty-five years, the following generation of children has been
Lin 2 smaller than that of their parents. In addition, the continuous low birth rates also contribute to an increase in the overall aging society of Germany. The ratio of young people in the overall population is decreasing, while the elderly people are increasing. Life expectancy has risen continuously, and is now 77.93 years for males, and 82.58 years for females. These factors force the German government to make changes in their immigration policies. In 2005, Germany launched a new Immigration Law, which was the first comprehensive law in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany that combined the issues of integration and immigration. On the other hand, people also like to immigrate to Germany. Germany has the world's fourth largest economy by nominal GDP and the fifth largest by purchasing power parity. The country has developed a very high standard of living and features a comprehensive system of social security, which includes the world's oldest universal health care system. Another factor is that the German labor market weathered the Great Recession without an increase in unemployment.
The internal and external reasons have both shaped the migrants flow to Germany. There were over one million people moving to Germany in 2012—the highest number in almost more than two decades. There were about 300,000 more immigrants than emigrants, and the population also increased for first time since 2004. According to Federal Statistical Office of Germany, about 80.7% of the population is German with no immigrant background, and 19.3% of the population are German citizens with immigrant background, accounting for almost sixteen million people. In addition, the number of people with immigrant backgrounds is estimated to increase to twenty million by 2030, representing about 26% of the population. In addition, more than one
Lin 3 million illegal immigrants are estimated to be living in Germany. Immigrants provide several benefits to the German economy. Most immigrants are of working age, which means that they consume less of the federal services provided by the country. “The current wave of immigrants to Germany have brought a great number of well-qualified and trained people to Germany, such as engineers, physicians, academics and skilled workers” (Koch). These people usually arrive to Germany because of employment preference, which means that they have the skills and techniques