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Germany world’s 2nd immigration destination with spike of almost 40%

Published time: May 26, 2014 11:05
People put their luggage in a bus departing from Sofia's central bus station to London via Austria, Germany and France January 2, 2014. (Reuters/Stoyan Nenov )

People put their luggage in a bus departing from Sofia's central bus station to London via Austria, Germany and France January 2, 2014. (Reuters/Stoyan Nenov )

Germany has become the second most popular immigration destination after the US, overtaking Canada and Australia. New figures by Germany’s statistics reveal a spike by 13 percent over 2013 alone.

The latest provisional figures from the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) show the number of people moving to Germany jumping to 1,226,000. Over the same period, 789,000 people left the country.

The majority of those figures were non-German immigrants coming from European Union countries (727,000), with Poland as the top country of origin (189,000), Deutsche Welle reported.

The OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) provided the information on Germany becoming the second most popular country for immigrants, which represents “a boom - without any exaggeration,” Thomas Liebig, an expert on international migration in the organization, told Reuters.

“No other OECD country experienced such a rise,” he added.

Germany reached the second place in the 2012 already, according to the latest data. Three years earlier, it occupied the eighth place.

Annually, the number of migrants soared by 400,000 people, or 38 percent in 2012. Migrants from other European countries were the majority of the wave.

Most came from Eastern Europe, but increasing numbers were leaving the crisis-hit southern Europe (Spain, Portugal, Greece) for strong economy and stable labor market.

According to the OECD, more immigrants were now finding work and have better vocational skills overall.

However, on Wednesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that EU immigrants who came to Germany to look for work would not receive Hartz IV social welfare payments.

The EU was "not a social-welfare union," Merkel told the local daily Passauer Neue Presse.

"We do not want to pay Hartz IV to EU citizens who are residing in Germany solely for the purpose of looking for work," she added.