Monday, December 1, 2014 8:14 pm
An oasis of prosperity in struggling Europe, Germany is now the favoured location for immigrants on the continent, who continue to skirt crisis-hit southern states, the OECD said in a report on Monday.
Germany has become the main destination for people freely moving between European Union nations and is also the world’s largest recipient of new asylum seekers.
In its latest migration outlook report, the 34-nation Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development said countries needed to see migrants “as a resource rather than a problem” and invest in integration policies to harness their skills.
“There are many ways for migrants to contribute to economic growth,” said the report.
In Germany, the OECD said immigration had contributed to employment growth, the lack of which is a key problem for many European nations.
“After the United States, Germany is now the OECD’s second most important destination country, up from eighth position in 2009,” said the report.
In 2013, the country welcomed over 400,000 immigrants, many of them from other EU nations.
Britain and France were third and fourth respectively.
The topic of immigration is hotly debated in both countries, where the UK Independence Party (UKIP) and the far-right Front National (FN) are flying high in the polls.
Last week, British Prime Minister David Cameron promised tough curbs on welfare for EU migrants and warned European leaders that resistance could put Britain’s EU membership in doubt.
– Migrants ‘better-educated’ –
The report said that migration flows to Italy and Spain had declined “rather markedly”, reflecting the ongoing economic situation.
“These countries, which were second or third largest immigration countries in the OECD from 2007 to 2011, now hold seventh and eighth positions.”
While China remains the biggest contributor of migrants, according to latest figures from 2012, the origins of others tend to wax and wane.
Romania, Poland and India were the next biggest contributing nations.