Germany’s Immigration Dilemma


Germany has been skeptical of its immigration policy recently as per the statement of the Chancellor Angela Merkel. She said, “Germany’s attempts to create multicultural society have failed.” One of her party colleagues said, “Multikulti is dead.” A board member of the German central bank Thilo Sarrazin went too far by saying, “Muslims have become burden to the German society.” He alleged that no immigrant group other than Muslims was so strongly connected with claims on the welfare state and crime. Interestingly, he received widespread support after his statement, and his book on the same subject received good readership.

GermanyMerkelGermany Chancellor said that her government needed skilled people to keep the German economy’s growth pace faster. At the same time, she cautioned against unskilled people as they come to Germany for social benefits. While Angela’s invitation to skilled people was economically oriented, her rejection of unskilled people was socially oriented. Maybe the Chancellor has to understand that the economic prizes are always associated with social costs in unequally developed societies. Inviting economic fruits but denying social costs is something equal to rejecting that a coin has two sides.

Urgent Need

A leading German demographer Reiner Klinghoiz, director of the Berlin Institute for Population and Development, said Germany desperately needed immigrants and it should ease restrictions on immigration to provide the skilled workers, from engineers to computer experts to ensure the future economic success, as per Reuters. He informed that immigration to German had come to a virtual halt in the last two years.

Though Germany has three million unemployed, Mr Klinghoiz said Germany could not wait ten years for those on unemployment to become trained engineers. Klinghoiz said further that Germany had an annual influx of 200,000 immigrants but in the last two years had seen a net exodus of 15,000. Restrictions like language tests had stopped migrations from Turkey almost completely, he added. German Chamber of Industry and Commerce was quoted as saying Germany lacked about 400,000 skilled workers and it sought more immigration.

Integration of Cultures

Those who oppose immigration complain that the immigrants failed to integrate into German society. They argue immigrants did not learn speaking German. Multiculturalism itself means different cultures living side-by-side keeping their cultures intact. Which means they speak their own languages, they maintain their own cultural habits but without ill-treating other cultures. Main responsibility lies with the home cultures to invite and respect immigrant cultures.

When a country wants skilled people from other cultures to augment its economic prosperity, those people bring their families and parents with them. They help their friends and relatives to immigrate for work, if they receive proper respect. They bring their cultural habits and systems along with them. We cannot expect them to speak the language, which does not belong to them, among themselves. Generally, they speak their own language. Language and religion are the main constituents of any culture.

A country that invited immigrants to work, can only expect work and hence an economic value from them. Integration is not killing or forgetting one’s own culture and start living in others’ cultures. Integration is something to do with tolerance and acceptance of other cultures in their own form. Otherwise, it cannot be called integration or multiculturalism. When multiculturalism is not seen as it is, people tend to believe it as a problem, rather than an asset. It is seen as problem only when economic problems become to surface. Maybe that’s what happened in Germany and other countries that started to believe that the multiculturalism has failed.

Social Costs

Germany prospered with the immigration of cheap labor from Turkey for decades. If Germany trained its people to make them skilled, it might not have reached such a situation where it needed 400,000 skilled immigrants. Those immigrants bring the same number of families with them. The situation leads to regrouping of a culture identity. One cannot deny such consequences.

The unemployed people always see the employed immigrants as encroachers and tend to believe that the immigrants are the immediate reason for their unemployment. Politicians exploit such situations to win over the opponents. Political exploitation further expands hate towards immigrants. That’s where the problem multiplies. Social unrest begins to erupt as a result of political intervention. Instead of addressing the actual problems of unemployment and poverty, the governments incline to bring non-issues as the only issues. That’s how multiculturalism failed, if it really failed.

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