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German immigration rates soar

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The economic meltdown has contributed to a 19 percent rise in immigration rates to Germany in the first half of 2011. The federal statistics office revealed that 435,000 people had arrived on German soil within the first six months. The majority of countries seeing increased rates of emigration to Germany have been those that have been the hardest hit by the EU financial crisis.

While other European countries have been struggling, Germany has seen a 3 percent economic growth rate and falls in the unemployment rate which in November was only 6.4 percent. This has made Germany the destination of choice for many immigrants.

"What is remarkable here is the strong increase in immigration from EU countries that have been particularly hard hit by the financial and debt crisis," the federal statistics office said.

A closer analysis of the statistics has shown 84 percent more Greeks and 49 percent more Spaniards have moved to Germany, when compared to the first half of 2010. There has also been a recent influx of immigrants from former communist countries in Eastern Europe (a 33 percent increase on 2010).

Other continents (Americas and Asia) had an 11 percent rise in emigration rates to Germany; while Africa saw a 3 percent increase.

Germany has welcomed the growing number of immigrants, which has enabled German companies to seek and recruit skilled labour immigrants to bolster the workforce. The country's low-birth rate and aging population means increased job opportunities for foreign workers.

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