Immigration and Germany, a Continuing Story

The German newspaper whose web site is now marginally better organized reports that Germany will offer a legal means to regularize the residence status of people who have lived in the country for several years without having, shall we say, dotted all the i’s and crossed all the t’s at the local immigration office. State governments have also agreed to give some preference in civil service hiring to people from immigrant backgrounds. The federal change had been agreed to by the current grand coalition, and the agreement of the states obviously includes those with governments of many different stripes.

This is all to the good. Every step that has been taken away from the late Kohl government’s position that “Germany is not a destination for immigration” has been a step in the right direction. In recent years, the number of German citizens has held steady mainly because of people taking on citizenship, as deaths continue to outpace births. The head-in-the-sand view that there aren’t immigrants in Germany is steadily retreating to the margins, and rightly so. (In practice, according to the newspaper, the new regulation affects about 100,000 people who have been denied asylum over the years.)

One criterion is that the foreigner should not “have come into serious conflict with German laws.” I hope they don’t mean like this or this. On the other hand, Americans and Australians are apparently exempt from the language requirement for getting residence permits for family members. Jawohl, fair dinkum, guys.

1 thought on “Immigration and Germany, a Continuing Story

  1. Hi Doug,

    While it is certainly welcome news to hear that official attitudes in Germany are finally beginning to change, there is still really a very long road to travel.

    At present almost as many people leave Germany every year as arrive, as I note in this post here on Demography Matters.

    Claus Vistesen and I are doing some background work on Eurozone imbalances, and we have come to the conclusion that relative migrant flows form a significant part of the picture. Claus has a useful post here where he presents data on and a comparison of recent flows into Spain, Italy and Germany.

    One very important feature of the current flows vis-a-vis Germany is the human capital balance, which is strongly negative. The reasons for this, and the implications, go well beyond this comment. I will try and put something up on Afoe about Eurozone imbalances in the next week or so which may help make some of this clearer.

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