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In Germany, an Aging Land of Shrinking Families, An Unexpected Surge in Immigrants

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier at home with a family of Syrian refugees. Source: Reuters
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier at home with a family of Syrian refugees.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Germany, which had for a long time discouraged immigration, now ranks second after the United States in the influx of foreign labor.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • According to the Handelsblatt Research institute, current immigration into Germany is at its highest level in 20 years.
    • Some experts say the euro crisis in southern European has worked to boost immigration to Germany.
    • The average age of immigrants to Germany is 28, and four in 10 have high school degrees, according to Deutsche Bank.
  • Audio

    Audio

  • Pdf

As Syria collapsed into a civil war, Omar, who had a comfortable life as an insurance analyst in the Syrian town of Latakia, decided to leave.

He came to Germany. Europe’s biggest economy is now only second to the United States in the number of immigrants it welcomes. The United Kingdom had traditionally been one of the most popular targets for migrants, but the government responded to popular pressure to tighten controls on immigration. Germany is now the place to head for.

Omar, who declined to give his real name because he had entered Germany illegally, could have settled in Dubai – many Syrians go there to study and to work, and the country had made it easy for well-educated citizens to settle here, but he wanted to come to Europe. It was safer, more prosperous and he had a chance of using his qualifications: he holds a degree in finance.

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