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Romanian, Bulgarian migrants good for Germany, study says

A study by a renowned think tank has shown migrant workers from Bulgaria and Romania are no threat to the German state and the domestic economy. On the contrary, they're bound to help curb the skilled labor shortage.

The German state as a whole stood to profit from an influx of Romanian and Bulgarian migrants, the Cologne Institute for Economic Research (IW) claimed in a fresh study Monday.

The survey came on the back of people from the two Eastern European EU nations now being able to live and work anywhere in the 28-member bloc without a special permit, following seven years of restrictions after EU accession.

The expected influx into Germany had triggered a media debate and disputes among conservative policy makers about the likelihood of Romanian and Bulgarian migrants causing an intolerable strain on public services and the new arrivals scrounging off the welfare state.

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But the IW study suggested that would not be the case overall. "Many migrants from those two nations are highly qualified and able to help ease Germany's skilled labor shortage," the survey said.

IW Director Michael Hüther said even more incentives had to be created for migrants to take up jobs in the country. He pointed out that roughly 25 percent of migrants from Romania and Bulgaria had an academic degree, against only 19 percent among native Germans.

In addition, eastern Europeans quite often were highly qualified mathematicians, natural scientists and engineers and could thus work in fields were the labor shortage was most severe.

Hüther also said the migrants in question were more often than not young and could play a decisive role in meeting the demographic challenges of the future.

hg/kms (Reuters, EPD)

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