Chancellor Helmut Kohl once declared Germany a "non-immigration country." Today, Germany knows it needs migrants, and is in fact a top destination for immigrants. But integration policies can be improved, a study finds.
Germany is making slow but steady progress where integration policies are concerned, but there's still much left to be done, fresh data shows.
The Migrant Integration Policy Index (MIPEX) study compares how successfully immigrants are integrated in 38 industrial nations. The study uses almost 150 indicators to measure policies in all 28 EU member states, the US, Australia, Japan, Turkey and other industrialized nations. That, the Migration Policy Group (MPG) website explains, helps "to create a rich, multi-dimensional picture of migrants' opportunities to participate in society."
The authors of the new MIPEX study - the fourth since 2004 - commend Germany for making "slow but steady progress on providing equal rights and greater support."
Germany did better this time, reaching 61 out of a total of 100 points - three more than the last report in 2011 - and scoring well above the Western European average of 52 points.
Among its improvements was the passing of a law in 2012 making easier the process by which foreign professional qualifications are officially recognized.
In terms of job opportunities, Germany came in fourth along with Canada, which has a much longer history of migration. According to the report, 78 percent of immigrants in Germany have jobs.
Labor market mobility
But Germany did less well concerning equality in the workplace. It is just as difficult for immigrants to take their employers to court over workplace discrimination as in the Czech Republic or Turkey, the study's authors say.
Citizenship laws get a mixed assessment in the study. The relative ease with which one can get citizenship in Germany is mentioned as a positive aspect - here, Germany ranked third - but the fact that immigrant children can only get a second nationality under certain conditions is seen as far too restrictive.
Germany is the only major industrialized nation that has not yet embraced dual nationality.
Germany is also criticized for restrictions placed on entire families moving to the country together. Again, laws are too restrictive, the study says, and give the term 'family' too narrow a definition. Health policies for migrants are also lacking, the study says: in this category, Germany ranks 22nd and therefore beneath the Western European average.
The MIPEX authors urge Germany to take a fundamentally different stance on how it develops immigration and integration strategies: "Integration policies must be a responsibility of ministries not mainly involved with security policies."