Figures reported in the German newspaper Die Zeit give an interesting insight into immigration in Europe’s most powerful economy. Massive immigration is compensating the demographic effects of a falling birth rate. Key points:
965,908 foreigners immigrated into Germany in 2012, mostly from Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and also southern European countries such as Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece, which have been hard hit by their local banking crises. That’s the equivalent of the population of Cologne.
However 578,759 foreigners also left Germany, leaving net immigration of 387,149.
Turks used to flood into Germany, but last year more Turks left Germany than entered, since the thriving Turkish economy offers opportunities at home. Immigration from Islamic countries has become insignificant.
Among German nationals, more left the country than returned.
Because of the declining birth rate, Germany needs net immigration of between 250,000 and 400,000 yearly in order to prevent the population from declining, which would depress economic growth and lead to an ageing population. 200,000 more people die in Germany than are born.
The moral, say Die Zeit, is that this huge immigration is beneficial despite resulting social strains, and Germany should do more to make immigrants welcome.
Meanwhile, in Britain, new legislation is under preparation to make it harder for foreigners to immigrate. We shall see which policy is right …