Will Germany soon be experiencing another influx of immigrants? More than two million people will be arriving in the coming years, according to latest figures. It's qualified people that the German government is hoping for most of all, in order to help fill the country's skilled worker shortfall.
In light of Germany's aging population, the demand for skilled foreign workers only looks set to grow. The government and employers alike are hoping that its blue card scheme will soon show results. It was introduced last year to help attract workers from non-EU countries to take up a job in Germany. But despite that and relaxed restrictions on immigration, the OECD says relatively few people are deciding to start new lives in Germany, despite its economy weathering the financial storm of the eurozone crisis better than others.
One reason may be the notiously difficult German language, or the difficulty immigrants face in getting their qualifications recognized, or maybe even the thought of having to leave behind friends and family.
Not all immigrants are the same. Some come to Germany for a short period of time, others plan to stay for good. And while some are treated like German citizens, others find life more difficult, especially low-skilled workers.
Are people from all countries welcome in Germany? Is the government doing enough to recruit foreign workers? Is Germany attractive to potential immigrants, and do they feel needed once they're here? Would you ever consider starting a new life in Germany?
Tell us what you think: Immigration - Welcome to Germany?
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Ursula Weidenfeld - has a PhD in history from the University of Bonn and studied journalism at the Holtzbrinck School in Düsseldorf. She became Berlin correspondent and a deputy editor at the magazine “Wirtschaftswoche” before going on to head the corporations desk at the Financial Times Deutschland. In 2001 she took on the job of economics editor at the daily “Der Tagesspiegel” in Berlin. From May of 2008 until January of 2009, Weidenfeld was also editor-in-chief at the business magazine “Impulse “. The journalist regularly writes for the financial daily “Handelsblatt”, and a collection of those articles has been published in book form. Ursula Weidenfel was granted the Ludwig Erhard Prize for Economic Commentary. She is currently a freelancer.
Katarzyna Stoklosa –is a cultural scientist from Poland. She studied at the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt on the Oder and also at the Moscow State University in Russia. After completing her studies, she worked in numerous institutes. In 2003, she then took over leadership of the Central and Eastern Europe department at the German Council on Foreign Relations. Today, she works at the Hannah Arendt Institute at the Technical University of Dresden and also as an assistant professor in the Department of Border Region Studies at the University of Southern Denmark.
Sawsan Chebli – was born in Berlin on 26 July, 1978. After finishing school, she went on to study political science at the Free University in Berlin from 1999 to 2004. Her main focus was on international relations, the Middle East, terrorism, and Islam. Since 1 March, 2010, she has worked as an advisor on intercultural affairs in Berlin's government department for the Interior and Sports. Her specialist topics are the Middle East, trans-Atlantic relations, security policy, and integration. Of Palestinian background, Sawsan Chebli is the eleventh child in a family of twelve children. She now lives in the Berlin district of Moabit with her family.