Germany, immigration

‘Germany has long had a complex attitude to outsiders. As its economy boomed during the Wirtschaftswunder years in the 1950s and 1960s, it imported huge numbers of foreign workers from southern Europe and Turkey. Know as Gastarbeiter (guest workers), they were meant to be temporary, and no effort was made to integrate them. Yet most of them settled. Their offspring form the core of Germany’s large, and largely low-skilled, migrant community. In the 1990s Germany absorbed huge numbers of ethnic Germans from the east, particularly Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. The eastward expansion of the EU, and the gradual removal of barriers to labour mobility, brought a surge of Poles, Romanians and Bulgarians. As a result Germany already has the largest immigrant population in Europe. According to the latest census, just out, some 6.2m of its 80.2m inhabitants, or 8%, are not German citizens, and several million more were born abroad,’ (Zanny Minton Beddoes in The Economist – Special Report Germany, 15th July 2013, p.13).