Germany and immigration today

Germany, with a population of 82 million, has admitted 2 million immigrants since 2015. Per capita, that level of immigration is 3 times the current level in the U.S. Germany’s fertility rate is 25% less than that of the U.S. and well below replacement rate.

A profile of Germany’s immigration in crisis in the Wall Street Journal:

Düzen Tekkal and her family had put on their best clothes for the naturalization ceremony. But when her father expressed his joy at becoming German, the presiding civil servant said, “You are not German—you only have citizenship.”

Germany needs to attract workers as the current population ages, according to economists who say the country must lure at least 400,000 skilled outsiders a year to maintain economic growth. Already, nearly a quarter of Germany’s 82 million people have at least one immigrant parent who was born without German citizenship.

“Germany is not a classic immigration country, and it also cannot become one due to its historical, geographic and social circumstances,” the conservatives said in a 2001 policy paper.

Critics from across the political spectrum now say such views are out of sync with reality. Germany’s political discourse on immigration was “long designed to avoid the statement of fact: We need immigration for the job market and because of our demographic decline,” said Petra Bendel of the Expert Council of German Foundations on Integration and Migration, a think tank. Some 1.2 million jobs stand vacant in Germany, she said.

[A] bill backed by the Social Democrats would set criteria for non-Europeans who want to work in Germany, and establish a point-based system designed to attract skilled workers. Modeled on legislation in countries such as Canada, the new system would consider the needs of employers and cut red tape for foreign workers needed for the booming German job market.

As part of the deliberations on the new legislation, the conservatives are discussing a controversial initiative, backed by the Social Democrats, to give work permits to some rejected asylum seekers who speak German and have skills needed by the job market. There are around 200.000 such rejected migrants, according to official estimates.

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