Net-migration to Germany increased by 17 per cent in the first half of 2014, newly released figures show.
According to the latest data from the country’s Federal Statistics Office, 667,000 people moved to Germany from another country in the opening six months of 2014 – 112,000 more than in the same period a year earlier.
During the same half-year period, some 427,000 people emigrated from Germany – an increase of 22 per cent over 2013.
A majority of the country’s new immigrants came from Europe, with the influx of European immigrants increasing by 19 per cent to 476,000. The main countries of origin for newcomers were Romania (98,000), Poland (96,000) and Bulgaria (38,000). There were also over 21,000 immigrants who came to Germany from Croatia – a whopping increase of 202 per cent over the corresponding period last year.
Elsewhere, the number of immigrants coming from African countries increased by 51 per cent and from Asia by 37 per cent. Meanwhile, the civil war in Syria has led to an increase of 242 per cent in the number of Syrian immigrants to Germany.
In spite of a seeming reluctance to further open up immigration, particularly to non-European immigrants, Germany has been urged by a number of global organisations toincrease its skilled immigration programme to help maintain its economic strength.
As a result, over the past two years the country’s government has been looking into attracting more skilled immigrants, and earlier this month Thomas Oppermann, the parliamentary leader of the Social Democrats (SPD), called for the introduction of a points system similar to ones used in other countries popular with immigrants, such as Australia and Canada.