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Germany – Migrants continue to flock to German labour market

18 August 2014

The number of labour migrants arriving in Germany is continuing to grow, according to the latest figures from the German Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit - BA).

Between May 2013 and May 2014, 1.25 million migrant workers arrived in Germany from Eastern Europe and from Greece, Italy, Spain, and Portugal. This compares with 1.07 million migrant workers arriving between May 2012 and May 3013, an increase of +16.8%. 

Labour migrants are attracted to the improving labour market conditions in Germany, especially when compared to the continued struggles of their home economies.

There was particularly strong job-migration from Bulgaria and Romania. The number of migrants from these countries rose by +54.4% to 239,995.

Frauke Wille, a spokesperson for BA, described this development as "not particularly remarkable", given that since 1 January 2014, citizens of Romania and Bulgaria can work without restrictions across the European Union.

Transitional controls were imposed by some member states, including UK and Germany, on nationals of the two countries when they joined the EU in 2007, with their rights to work and claim benefits limited for the first seven years of EU membership.

The number of labour migrants from Greece, Italy, Spain, and Portugal now employed in Germany increased by +6.9% to 520,791. Labour migration from Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania grew by +17%, with a total of 492,989 people from these eight countries finding work in Germany.

Average wages for Bulgarian and Romanian workers are comparatively lower than the average monthly wage for a German worker, with Bulgarian and Romanian workers earning €1,860 per month, compared with German workers who receive €2,920. 

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