Immigration Boom Propels Germany Past U.K. in New OECD Ranking

Germany has risen to become the
world’s number two destination for permanent migration,
overtaking the U.K. and Canada, as the sovereign-debt crisis
forced southern Europeans to leave home, according to a survey
by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

While the U.S. still draws the most settlers, Germany
jumped from eighth place in 2009 to second in 2012, with
permanent migration rising 38 percent on the year, according to
an OECD study entitled “Migration Policy Debates,” published
today. Germany attracted 400,000 permanent immigrants in 2012.

“Such a strong increase from one year to another has been
rarely observed in any major OECD country,” Thomas Liebig, one
of the study’s authors, said by e-mail.“We can clearly speak
about a boom of migration to Germany without exaggeration.”

Germany, which has Europe’s oldest population and the
second-lowest birthrate after Monaco, has adapted immigration
policies since 2000 to attract more high-skilled labor. Twenty-five years after former Chancellor Helmut Kohl declared that
Germany “is not and can never be an immigration country,” one
in three migrants within Europe now moves to the country in
search of work, according to the OECD. That compares with one in
10 in 2007.

Spain has experienced the greatest immigration decline
since that year.

A greater portion of immigrants moving to Europe’s biggest
economy is classed as “highly educated” — 34 percent in 2012
compared with 30 percent in 2007, according to the study. The
employment rate among immigrants has also increased in that
period, to 69 percent from 66 percent.

The OECD defines permanent immigrants as foreigners
settling in a country who have acquired the right to permanent

A shortage of qualified employees is costing small and
medium-sized German companies 31 billion euros ($43 billion) in
lost annual revenue, according to a report in January by Ernst &
Young LLP.

Without growth to the German working-age population,
including through immigration, as many as 1.5 million fewer
people will be available to the workforce by 2020, Bundesbank
President Jens Weidmann said in September. Such a decline would
cost Germany almost 70 billion euros in annual output, he said
at the time.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Alex Webb in Munich at

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Simon Thiel at
Angela Cullen, Tony Czuczka

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Immigration Boom Propels Germany Past U.K. in New OECD Ranking
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