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Public narratives and attitudes towards refugees and other migrants: Germany country profile

Briefing/policy papers

Written by Marta Foresti, Amy Leach, Gemma Hennessey, Irina Mosel

Hero image description: Refugees Welcome demonstration in Hamburg Image credit:Rasande Tyskar Image license:Creative Commons

This briefing presents an overview of the key features of migration and asylum policy in Germany, recent trends in migration patterns, public perceptions and political narratives on refugees and other migrants:

  • Germany is one of the most important countries of immigration in Europe. In 2018 there were 10.9 million refugees and other migrants, accounting for 13% of the German population, of whom 1.2 million were refugees.
  • There is a strong tradition of refugee protection in Germany. A large majority of Germans believe that countries including their own have an obligation to accept refugees. Yet there is also growing concern about the cultural impact migration could have in the long term.
  • Most Germans do not have strong positive or negative views about refugees and other migrants, with 59% concerned about the negative externalities of immigration but also open to its potential economic benefits and supportive of the moral obligation to protect refugees.
  • By 2021 refugees will contribute more than they cost to the German state through filling labour shortages, paying taxes and contributing to the economy.
  • The private sector is actively engaged in supporting the integration of refugees and other migrants into German society and the economy. Often working in partnership, they have spearheaded initiatives offering practical support and employment opportunities for refugees and other migrants.

This briefing is part of a wider project supported by the IKEA Foundation aimed at supporting public and private investors interested in engaging with migration and displacement.

About the series

Through a series of activities, dialogues and innovative communication and outreach initiatives, public and political narratives on refugees and other migrants: implications for action maps recent research and evidence on public attitudes toward refugees and other migrants.

Also written with Christoper Smart.

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