• 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
German populist party in race row over Boateng remarks
Boateng, who has a Ghanaian father, was born and brought up in Berlin. Photo: DPA

A leading member of the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party sparked outrage Sunday after making racist remarks about national football team defender Jerome Boateng.

Dozens hit by lightning strike in west Germany
Witnesses to the lightning strike said it came out of the blue. Photo: DPA

35 people were injured in the west German village of Hoppstädten when lightning struck the pitch at the end of a children's football match.

Dresden 'most woman-friendly’ city in Germany
Photo: DPA.

Sorry Berlin, you're not the most progressive city for women, according to a new report.

The future belongs to these 10 German regions
This east German city won the 'most improved' category. Photo: DPA

A new study shows that one city above all will dominate the future of Germany, but if you're canny you might still want to think about moving to Leipzig or Erfurt.

Fugitive ex-terrorists 'on huge crime spree' in north Germany
(L-r): ex-RAF members Volker Staub, Daniela Klette, and Burkhard Garweg. Photo: BKA

In their struggle against capitalism they once murdered businessmen and politicians. Now three ex-terrorists have taken to robbing supermarkets - and rather successfully, too.

Scooter singer finally reveals how much the fish cost
H.P. Baxxter. Photo: DPA

It is the question Germans have wanted to know the answer to for almost two decades - and now they have the answer, thanks to a US talkshow host.

'I'm definitely not a paedophile': disgraced MP
Former MP Sebastian Edathy is in hiding after a child pornography scandal destroyed his career. Photo: DPA

Former MP Sebastian Edathy quit his job and left Germany after videos of naked children were found on his computer.

Weekend promises storms, humidity - and a bit of sun
A storm in Cuxhaven last weekend. Photo: DPA

The forecast for the coming days isn’t the pristine blue skies many of us are longing for. But, in among the storms, the sun will still peek out.

Prosecutors take aim at unedited Hitler book
An original edition of 'Mein Kampf' featuring a photo of Hitler on an inside cover. Photo: DPA

German prosecutors said on Thursday they were investigating whether to bring charges against a publisher who has promised to print a version of Adolf Hitler's anti-Semitic manifesto "Mein Kampf" without annotations.

VW bets on battery factory for electric car dominance
A VW logo is seen in front of a plugged-in electric car. Photo: DPA

Scandal-hit car giant Volkswagen is set to sink huge sums into building a factory for batteries to power its future electric cars, German media reported on Friday.

Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
Society
Pegida enraged by black children on chocolate bars
Health
New father's tragic herpes warning touches 1000s online
National
Monsanto takeover would be 'diabolical': environmentalists
Lifestyle
10 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
Politics
MP recites explicit Erdogan bestiality poem on live TV
National
China beats Germany in readiness to help refugees
Hamburg
Headless Lübeck corpse turns out to be discarded sex doll
National
Pensioner claims to have found hidden Nazi nukes
Business & Money
Here's why Munich is worth 20 times more than Berlin
Culture
Five sure-fire ways to impress Germans with your manners
Lifestyle
6 things about Munich that will stay with you forever
Technology
Church plans to connect with faithful at Wi-Fi 'Godspots'
Technology
Online hate speech can cost users thousands of Euros
Society
Bavarians in rush for non-lethal weapons licenses
Sport
Here's Germany's Mannschaft for Euro 2016
Culture
The Syrian pianist playing his way into Germans' hearts
The parrot who flew fast enough to trigger a speed camera
Technology
New law could let free Wi-Fi bloom across Germany
Politics
Berlin's plans to beef up the German army
Sport
Lufthansa's Euro 2016 ad takes aim at England
National
Supermarkets must pay massive fine for fixing beer prices
National
4/20: Five things to know about weed in Germany
Berlin
Police break up hipster swarm at vegan restaurant opening
7,831
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd