These are remarkable developments that the Federal Statistical Office reported on Tuesday in the migration statistics for 2021. In a nutshell: the strong emigration of Germans is continuing. The immigration of foreigners is back to the high level of the years before the Corona crisis; the most important countries of origin are Syria, Romania and Afghanistan.
The statisticians also note an impact of Brexit: “In connection with the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union, net emigration to the United Kingdom was recorded in 2021 for the first time since 2009.” Specifically: If you subtract the immigration from the emigration, the result is a minus 2000 British. According to the information, net immigration from the United Kingdom was still plus 6,000 in 2020 and plus 4,000 in 2019.
The latest figure is interesting because it contradicts the forecast made in recent years that many Britons could move to Germany after Brexit, for example to work in the Frankfurt am Main banking location. In terms of quantity, however, the British were and are a very insignificant migrant group.
Much more important, but only very rarely a problem in the political media discourse: the strong emigration of Germans, which also continued in 2021: The majority of the 247,829 German citizens who deregistered last year and registered a place of residence abroad will come back; among them are aspiring doctors who are studying in the Netherlands because of the local numerus clausus, or craftsmen who want to earn more money in Scandinavia for a few years.
All in all, however, according to the Federal Office, 64,179 more Germans emigrated than immigrated. Since 2005, 792,000 more Germans have left Germany permanently than returned.
Especially against the background of the lack of births that has existed for decades – since 1972 six million more Germans have died than were born – such permanently strong migration losses have serious consequences. For example, in the discussion about the high demand for labor from many companies or the question of financing increasing government spending. Because the unemployed rarely decide to emigrate, but rather citizens with professional opportunities.
The fact that the population in Germany has increased by more than four million since 1972 despite these effects is due to the strong immigration of foreigners. In 2021, 394,000 more non-Germans moved to the Federal Republic than left it. This puts immigration back at about the pre-Corona level. In 2019 there was a net immigration of 385,000 foreigners.
The main countries of origin in 2021 were, in this order, Syria (41,400 net), Romania (36,000), Afghanistan (31,300), Turkey (19,500), India (21,300), Bulgaria (18,300), Kosovo (16,000) and Iraq (15,100). On average, immigrants from these countries have a far lower level of qualification than the population living here. This means major integration efforts for kindergartens, schools, training companies and social workers.
It is noteworthy that significantly more Syrians came in 2021 than in 2019; at that time there were 24,000 on balance (18,000 during the restrictions on international mobility in 2020 due to the pandemic).
In addition to family reunification with Syrians living here, the strong immigration is also being driven by refugees who have already been recognized in Greece and other EU countries. These apply again in Germany and are then usually recognized. Since the beginning of 2020, only relatively few have come across the land and sea borders of Greece from Turkey, which, as a neighboring country to Syria, took in most of the refugees from there.
In February two years ago, the Turkish government tried to trigger a large-scale migration by helping thousands of migrants try to cross the land border into Greece in large groups. At the same time, hardly any boats were held. The Greek government prevented a further escalation with robust measures including rejections. Since March 2020, the number of crossings to the islands has fallen drastically and remains manageable to this day.
During this escalation on the part of Turkey, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (CDU) traveled to the border area, where she described the Greeks as “Europe’s shield”. In the meantime, however, there are increasing demands from Brussels that Greece should give up its tough border protection policy. According to the current legal opinion of the EU Commission, a not insignificant element of border protection – namely preventing people from crossing the border without permission – is prohibited as soon as the person wishing to enter the country seeks asylum, which almost everyone who is apprehended does.
Supported by Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD), Brussels has been trying for a long time to convince Greece, Poland and other states on the EU’s external border to stop stopping asylum seekers at the borders. Again and again there are media reports about controversial refusal practices; Most recently, the “Spiegel” researched together with the ARD and other international partners that the Greek authorities apparently also employed immigrants who were used for deportations at the border.
Luise Amtsberg (Greens), the federal government’s human rights commissioner, said about Greece’s instruction policy: “This approach is a break with all the values that we represent in the European Union”. Athens’ approach could not be surpassed in its abyss and perfidy.
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