Immigration has been successful all over the world

Migration and Population

1. Demographic deficit and migration



D has only been reproducing two thirds of its population since 1970, only because of immigration has the population not decreased accordingly in recent decades. All other European countries except Turkey also show a demographic deficit, but it occurred earlier in D than in neighboring countries and it is more pronounced because it is now in the third generation. One of the main reasons for this, since the pension reform in 1957, has been a social policy that focuses on the age phase, promotes marriage rather than children and does not make it easier to combine work and raising children. With the reunification, this model was transferred to East Germany, which triggered a historical low birth rate with far-reaching consequences. Only in the last few years have the East German birth rates recovered and in 2010 slightly exceeded those in the West. The compatibility of work and parenthood is more widely accepted in the East than in the West, and childcare is also better.

In its founding decades, the FRG was one of the most successful immigration countries in the world. By the time the Wall was built in 1961, it integrated 9 million displaced persons from the East and 3 million refugees from the → GDR. 1961-1973 it recruited 2.4 million workers from the Mediterranean region. From 1970 this resulted in a settlement process that was legally and politically secured by European integration including the EU association with Turkey. The social and economic integration was relatively successful, especially within the companies, but the naturalization and education for the children remained deficient.

Since 1981, the overall successful immigration balance has been masked by domestic political controversies, which were mainly ignited by the high number of asylum seekers, played a major role in the → election campaigns in 1982/83 and 1986/87 and in 1992/93 led to a "state crisis" (H. . Kohl), were accompanied by assassinations and darkened the picture of D. At the same time, serious control deficits increased. Family members who followed suit and asylum seekers were subject to work bans and the economic integration of the immigrants became less and less successful, they were pushed into the open social systems. The crisis was exacerbated by the influx of 4 million resettlers who were able to leave the former Eastern Bloc countries after the end of the Cold War, half a million asylum seekers and other immigrants due to the reunification boom around 1990.

Figure 1: Foreigners in Germany: population, employees and unemployed 1961-2010,
Employed persons including self-employed 1985-2010 (in thousands) (& copy concise dictionary of politics)
As the diagram shows, the vast majority of foreigners in the FRG were initially gainfully employed; this proportion fell more and more, especially during Helmut Kohl's reign. Since the immigrants suffered from high unemployment, many of them tried to become self-employed. The federal government initiated constitutional and legal changes to stop "immigration into the social systems" (Merkel). This went so far that in 2008 and 2009 more people left Germany than moved there.

The → GDR was the only country in Europe whose population was constantly decreasing due to the magnetism of the FRG. In 1949, 17 million people lived in the GDR area, today there are 13 million. While the FRG had recruited migrants from Western Europe, the GDR took in contract workers from other communist countries in its final years, especially from Vietnam and Cuba , Mozambique and Angola. This happened under extremely restrictive conditions up to and including compulsory abortion for pregnant women if they did not want to be deported. With the collapse of the GDR industry during reunification, almost all contract workers lost their jobs. Many returned and it was not until 1997 that D granted them the right to stay. Today most of the former contract workers, mostly Vietnamese, are self-employed. Your children achieve high educational successes.

2. Naturalization, reforms and integration discourse

With its far-reaching naturalization initiative, the red-green → coalition sparked a major controversy in 1998/99 and lost the Federal Council majority in the Hessian state elections. The result was a fundamental reform of naturalization in a compromise with the → FDP and an objectification of the public discourse. The → CDU / → CSU has also been committed to "integration" since then. Preparations were made for building consensus in the non-partisan Süßmuth Commission and by Chancellor Schröder's "Green Card" initiative for the immigration of IT specialists. The campaign against it ("Children instead of Indians") failed. After long efforts it was possible to pass an immigration law that is supposed to facilitate the immigration of specialists (so far with little success) and provides for integration courses. The grand → coalition also passed a hardship regulation for tolerated asylum seekers who are considered to be integrated. The excited immigration and flooding discourse has now been replaced by an integration discourse that exaggerates deficits. The language skills of immigrants have increased from year to year. Residential segregation is less pronounced in Germany than in neighboring countries or in the USA. While educational success is increasing, participation in training has decreased more and more since 1995.

D has always financed extensive language programs for resettlers, refugees and "guest workers". With the law of 2005, language courses are compulsory for all new immigrants from countries with a visa requirement; resident migrants can participate voluntarily. Tests are required for family reunification, settlement permits and naturalization. The → Federal Chancellor held several "integration summits" at which integration was defined as the common goal of all bodies. For his part, the Federal Minister of the Interior initiated a "German Islam Conference", which aims to clarify and organize the relationship between the state and Islam.

3. Migration today

With a few exceptions, the immigration of ethnic German repatriates has expired, as has the immigration of Jews from the former Soviet Union; at the request of the Central Council, it was restricted to Jews according to the religious definition. The number of asylum seekers has fallen sharply, partly because of the coordinated European isolation measures, partly because of the pacification of the Balkan region. For this reason, market-driven migration will become more important in the future.

Due to the economic stability and the difficult situation in some EU countries, immigration from EU countries is now gaining in importance again. In 2010 there was again an immigration surplus of 127,635 people. Nevertheless, the population shrank by 181,000 due to the high death surplus. Most immigrants in 2010 came from the new EU member states Romania (25,717), Poland (22,623) and Bulgaria (15,602), most emigrants went to Switzerland (12,484) and Turkey (5,862). Immigration and employment for Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Slovenes and Balts have been free since May 2011, with Romanians and Bulgarians joining in 2014.

The immigration of students has also increased, and the Chinese are now the most numerous. In the coming years, D will have to allow and organize immigration of skilled workers to a greater extent than before. According to international experience, market-based solutions are the most effective. Due to the demographic deficit in Europe as a whole, sources from outside of Turkey will come into question, such as China, India or Vietnam. The competition for qualified skilled workers is likely to increase given the demographic problems of many rich countries. D can only do well if it offers attractive conditions and also conveys a positive image as a country of immigration to the outside world.



Source: Andersen, Uwe / Wichard Woyke (ed.): Concise dictionary of the political system of the Federal Republic of Germany. 7th, updated Aufl. Heidelberg: Springer VS 2013. Author of the article: Dietrich Thränhardt