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19th Jan 2020

Germany second top migration destination of choice after US

More migrants are heading to Germany than any other wealthy country except the US, according to the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

An OECD report out Monday (1 December) says Germany recorded a double-digit increase in the number of migrants in 2013 and its fourth consecutive annual rise.

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  • 68 percent of migrants in Germany are in active employment, says the OECD (Photo: Paolo Margari)

Some 450,000 people migrated to Germany last year. Of those, around three quarters come from other EU member states.

Germany is also in pole position in terms of accepting the most Syrian refugees with 110,000 asylum claims, followed by the United States, France, Sweden, and Turkey.

In proportion to population size, Sweden tops the rankings with the most Syrian asylum and refugees.

The OECD report is a cross comparative analysis of immigration trends in the 34 nations that make up the Paris-based club.

It found migration flows are once again on the rise after the slowdown associated with the global financial crisis.

But at the same time, it noted a 40 percent drop in the number of non-EU migrants arriving in the EU between 2007 and 2012.

Most of the EU-based labour migration declines were registered in Italy, Portugal, and Spain.

“As a result, legal permanent migration flows from third countries into Europe are now for the first time lower than similar flows to the United States,” OECD secretary-general Angel Gurria told reporters.

He said gender and education levels of migrants are rapidly changing when compared to previous studies.

Most now tend to be women, well-educated, and over-qualified for the jobs they land in the hosting nations.

“Migrants are an asset, not a liability. Migrants are a resource, not a problem,” he said.

Around 115 million migrants live in OECD nations. One in 10 is from China and one in five from Asia.

Gurria said the overall fiscal impact of immigration in most of the countries is positive, noting that more migrants are needed to meet labour demands.

New migration initiative

Speaking alongside Gurria, European migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said the Brussels-executive is working on launching a new migration policy initiative.

“We need to change the narrative of migration, we need to show its positive impacts,” he said.

Avramopoulos’ new migration policy will first focus on attracting high-skilled immigrants to the EU.

He also wants to create more legal channels to make it easier for non-EU nationals to come to Europe, noting migration is needed to offset an ageing population.

“Labour market integration of legal migrants is an area where we will be working increasingly at the European Union,” he said.

Both noted that the issue of migration has become politically toxic in some countries.

Gurria, for his part, refrained from commenting in detail on UK prime minister David Cameron’s most recent plans to curb the number of EU migrants entering the UK by removing their social security net for up to four years.

“In the case of the UK, I believe it is net positive,” he said about the impact of migrants in the country.

The number of arrivals in the UK has progressively decreased over the years.

Last year, the UK had around 291,000 arrivals, down from 317,300 in 2008 and 343,300 in 2007, according to the OECD report.

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