According to figures from the Federal Statistics Office, more people moved to Germany from abroad in 2012 than any year since 1995. There was a particular jump in immigrants from debt-laden southern European countries.
The report, released Tuesday, outlined the preliminary number of people who immigrated and emigrated to and from Germany in 2012. Last year, just over a million people immigrated to Germany - an increase of 13 percent compared to 2011 and the highest number of immigrants since 1995.
Around 700,000 people moved away from Germany, resulting in a net gain of 369,000 German residents in 2012. That is also the highest number since 1995.
Germany saw an 18 percent increase in immigrants from other countries in the European Union compared to 2011. Immigrants from countries most severely affected by the eurozone's sovereign debt difficulties: there were 45 percent more newcomers from Spain in 2012 compared to the previous year, and immigration from Greece and Portugal went up by 43 percent each.
Countries that are relatively new to the European Union also provided an increased number of immigrants compared to 2011. The number of Slovenian immigrants to Germany went up by 62 percent last year compared to 2011. Slovenia joined the EU in 2004.
Poland continues to be the country where most of the immigrants to Germany come from in terms of total numbers.
Around 75 percent of all immigrants to Germany in 2012 landed in five southern and western states: Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Hesse, Lower Saxony, and North Rhine-Westphalia.
mz/msh (Reuters, dpa)