• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Thousands exit Germany for Bulgaria and Romania

The Local · 24 Feb 2014, 15:31

Published: 24 Feb 2014 15:31 GMT+01:00

In the last two years, around 200,000 Bulgarians and Romanians have left Germany, figures provided to The Local by the Federal Statistics Office (Destatis) show.

Since Bulgaria and Romania became full EU members in 2007, regulations limited immigration to Germany from the new member states. The last of these restrictions were lifted on January 1st 2014.

But figures show that while immigration from the EU's newest members is growing fast, numbers of people moving back from Germany to Bulgaria and Romania are climbing even faster.

Migration from Germany to Romania went up 20 percent, from 50,265 in the first three quarters of 2012, to 60,450 in the same period of 2013.

Figures for the final quarter of 2013 are not expected until May.

Dr Jochen Oltmer, Professor at Osnabrück University's Institute for Migration Research and Intercultural Studies, told The Local that the accelerating emigration was not unexpected.

"In migration currents one thing can always be observed - the higher the migration into a country, the higher the migration out."

He said most Bulgarians and Romanians in the country stay no longer than a few years which accounts for some fluctuations in migration rates.

Many are students who come over for "a couple of semesters", or professionals for a few years' work experience, before returning home, he explained.

Departures to Bulgaria, meanwhile, grew by 11 percent in the first three quarters of 2013 compared to the same period the year before.

If the number of people leaving Germany for Bulgaria and Romania is taken into account, the net figure for immigration from Romania increased by only nine percent between 2012 and 2013 – from 41,684 to 45,484.

And the net total of new Bulgarian immigrants actually dropped by 10.5 percent in 2013 compared to 2012, from 21,394 to 19,143.

'More opportunities than dangers'

The thrust of the debate on immigration from the eastern states has centred on fears that January's deregulation could cause an "immigration flood".

But the absence of any such immigration emergency was "to be expected," Oltmer said.

"People have been able to immigrate [from Romania and Bulgaria] for years and restrictions were first liberalized in 2012," he said.

He told The Local the most important immigration-related challenge for Germany's government was actually "to communicate to the population that there are overwhelmingly more opportunities that come along with immigration than there are dangers".

Nora Hesse from think-tank Open Europe Berlin, who is originally from Bulgaria, said many young Bulgarians came to Germany simply to study and then returned home.

“They may also struggle to find a job where they earn enough money to send home,” she told The Local.

'A long migration relationship'

According to the statistics from Destatis the biggest immigration spike came from Italy between 2012 and 2013.

The net number of new immigrants from Italy went up 62 percent between quarters one to three of 2012 and the same period in 2013 from 15,053 to 24,353. 

Germany has become the destination of choice for most Italians looking to start a new life abroad, Frankfurt Allgemeine Zeitung reported last June.

Story continues below…

Spokesman for the Goethe Institute in Rome Susanne Höhn told the newspaper the biggest demographic choosing to migrate was "Germany-fans: motivated people around 30 who want to leave their family home, start their own family and find a stable, promising career".

Growing immigration from Italy gets less attention than Bulgaria and Romania because there is a "long migration relationship" between Germany and Italy, according to Oltmer.

"The migration from Italy to Germany has been going on for several decades – there are a lot of Italians who have family connections with Italians living in Germany who moved here years ago," he said.

And "the economic crisis in Italy means immigration is especially high at the moment," he added.

The background of this "migration relationship" means immigration from Italy is seen as "unproblematic and normal", he said.

In contrast immigration from the eastern states is often seen as "poverty migration" and gets "scandalized," despite this being false, Oltmer added.

SEE ALSO: Professor quits over Swiss xenophobia

Alex Evans and Tom Bristow

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
File photo: DPA

When a man swimming naked in a Bavarian lake felt a strange pain in his nether regions, he looked up to see a fisherman on the shore. "Don’t pull!" he shouted.

Study finds rival Rhineland beers 'actually taste the same'
Left: Altbier. Right: Kölsch. Or can you even tell? Photos: DPA.

Cologne and Düsseldorf have a long established rivalry, not least over who has the better home brew. So the results of a new study might be more than they can swallow.

Eastern Europe pushes Germany for joint EU army
Angela Merkel (l), Beata Szydlo and Victor Orban. Photo: DPA

Eastern EU countries on Friday pushed for the bloc to create a joint army as they met with Germany for talks on sketching Europe's post-Brexit future.

Merkel’s party mate wants to get rid of all Karl Marx streets
Karl Marx and one of the roadways in Berlin named for him. Photos: Wikimedia Commons, Nicor

Hundreds of streets are named after the founder of communism, but this conservative politician wants to give Marx the boot.

State elections
6 reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
Photo: DPA

With state elections around the corner, The Local looks at the poor side of Germany's "poor but sexy" capital city.

Upstarts RB Leipzig plan to go right to top of Bundesliga
RB Leipzig players celebrate scoring against Dynamo Dresden. Photo: DPA

RB Leipzig make their Bundesliga debut on Sunday, but the East German outfit, sponsored by energy drinks manufacturer Red Bull, are already far from popular in Germany's top-flight.

Poland criticizes Germany’s 'self-serving' foreign policy
Witold Waszczykowski. Photo: DPA

The Polish foreign minister has said that Germany all too often follows its own interests at the expense of its partners, as Chancellor Angela Merkel prepares to visit Warsaw.

Vast majority of Germans in favour of burqa ban: poll
Women wearing niqab veils in Saudi Arabia. Photo: DPA.

A survey found that the vast majority of respondents were in favour of Germany passing a ban on the full-body veil sometimes worn by Muslim women.

Czech police detain driver for harassing Merkel's motorcade
Angela Merkel. File photo: DPA

Czech police arrested a man on Thursday for attempting to drive into the motorcade of visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Prague, they said.

Teacher convicted for holding kids back after class
Photo: DPA

A music teacher from North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) has been found guilty of "holding people against their will" after he made some naughty stay kids back after class.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Lifestyle
What's on in Germany: events for August 2016
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Travel
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Travel
Six soothing day trips to escape the bustle of Berlin
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
8,546
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd