BERLIN: Immigration to Germany soared 15 percent in the first half of the year, thanks to an influx of people from European countries hit hard by the eurozone crisis, official figures showed Thursday.
Germany registered about 500,000 new arrivals between January and June against 318,000 who left, preliminary figures from the federal statistics office Destatis.
Germany registered about 435,000 new arrivals between January and June 2011, according to official figures.
Most of the immigrants came from other European Union member states — about 306,000, marking a 24-percent increase of newcomers from the bloc.
“The most interesting aspect during the first half of 2012 is the sharp rise in immigration from EU countries particularly affected by the financial crisis,” Destatis said in a statement.
The number of people coming from Greece leapt 78 percent, rising by 6,900 people compared to the same period last year, from Spain 53 percent (plus 3,900 people) and Portugal also at 53 percent (plus 2,000 people).Most of the people arriving came from central Europe, with Poland, which is not a member of the eurozone, in the top spot with 89,000 people.
Germany, Europe’s top economy, fully opened up its labour market to other EU members in 2011.
The German economy, which has fared relatively well during three years of crisis in Europe, recorded a 20-percent jump in immigration in 2011 compared to the year before, leading its population to grow for the first time in eight years despite a low birthrate.
NOVEMBER 15, 2012