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Germany second-biggest migrant destination

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Germany second-biggest migrant destination
Merkel practises blacksmithing while meeting apprentices at the BVG. Photo: DPA
16:40 CET+01:00
As politicians and civil society organizations gathered in Berlin to discuss integration policy, new figures show that more people than ever are immigrating to Germany.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) reported on Monday that net immigration in 2013 reached 437,000, a significant increase over the 370,000 recorded in 2012.

That made Germany the destination for the second-highest number of migrants in the OECD, behind the US at almost one million and ahead of the UK at 291,000.

The total number of people with a migrant background was around 16.3 million – or 20 percent of the German population.

A major driver of the increase was the jump in people from other EU countries travelling to find work, which increased by over 130,000 in 2012 and again in 2013.

The number of workers coming from non-EU countries increased more slowly, going up by 37,000 in 2012 and 21,000 in 2013.

Authorities have been pushing new policies to integrate migrants into the workforce and attract qualified workers into the country as Germany faces a growing ageing population problem.

New employment rules introduced in July 2013 mean that employers are now permitted to recruit non-EU workers for jobs where there is a skills shortage in Germany.

And most foreign university graduates are simply waved through as the country pushes to fill high-skill job vacancies.

But Germany “must become better” at helping young people from migrant families into education and training, Chancellor Angela Merkel said at the opening of the national Integration Summit in Berlin.

Although the country was already doing a lot, “the tempo could be raised” on introducing key reforms, Merkel said.

Many people saw their applications to training positions refused simply for having a foreign name, the Chancellor added.

The Integration Summit, which sees representatives from state governments, big business, unions and migrants' organizations invited to the Chancellery, is to focus heavily on access to education and training this year.

Merkel and federal integration chief Aydan Özoguz earlier visited the Berlin Transport Companies (BVB) training centre to meet young people with migrant backgrounds.

SEE ALSO: Germany 'is a country of migration'

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