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Germany: immigration as an election issue

October 2013, 01
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In the weeks leading up to the German election on 22 September 2013, immigration to Germany was a hot issue, with candidates, journalists and the public making their views known. Germany remains divided over immigration, yet the election results have some very positive results for immigrants in the country and those hoping to live and work in Germany.
Germany election issue


35 immigrants elected
One positive outcome of the election is that 34 lawmakers with an immigrant background have been elected to the Bundestag, the German parliament. 1 in 5 German residents are immigrants or the children or grandchildren of immigrants, but that figure is not reflected in the Bundestag, which has 630 seats in total.
The politicians with an immigrant background elected in these elections represent several parties and a wide range of views across the political spectrum. This election has seen a number of firsts: the Bundestag has its first black lawmakers, and the leading party, the CDU led by Chancellor Angela Merkl, has its first Muslim one. 

India's son in the Bundestag

There is a strong Indian community in parts of Germany, but the overall number of Indian immigrants to Germany is relatively low, with only 100,000 Indians living in the country, compared to 2 million Turkish immigrants. However, German-Indians continue to have representation in the Bundestag as Sebastian Edathy, whose father was from Kerala, has retained his seat in this election. A member of the Social Democratic Party, he says he fights for good conditions, social justice and economically sound policy.

Mixed feelings

With around 20% of German residents being either immigrants or the children or grandchildren of immigrants, many Germans are calling for a halt to immigration. Interestingly, this includes some immigrants who, having arrived themselves, feel that now enough is enough. 
The debate in Germany has been fierce, with both sides citing studies and surveys showing the economic impact of immigration and the effects on the country's culture and population. However, one thing is clear: with over 20% of the electorate already being over 65, Germany needs to find young blood from somewhere and a declining birth rate of just 1.36 children per woman will not provide enough workers for the future. 

No seats for anti-immigration party

The most vocal anti-immigration party, the NPD did not gain a single seat in the Bundestag in the recent elections. In the run up to the election, the party stirred up controversy with racist campaign slogans and threatening letters to politicians with an immigrant background. However, when the votes were finally tallied, the far right party had not received enough votes to gain a single seat, making their campaign somewhat toothless. 

Immigration to Germany is still strong

Despite the media reports, immigration to Germany is still strong, and many migrants are welcomed by businesses struggling to recruit qualified professionals from within the country. At MoreVisas, we are expert visa consultants and can offer advice and services relating to all aspects of living and working in Germany.
 

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