Fear of rising terror and civil wars have compelled people from Middle East and North Africa to take shelter in Europe and surprisingly Germany, having the largest population among the EU (European Union) nations, came to their rescue by giving shelter to around 1 million refugees in 2015, out of which around 50% are from Syria.
Why is Germany happy to accept so many Middle Eastern refugees? Other EU nations are seeing this as a crisis, but Germany is sensing a golden opportunity to boost it’s economic powerhouse. The country is falling short of workforce, both short-term and long-term labor. Many schools have been shuttered and many regions have been turned into ghost-towns, thanks to the low-birth rate and a static population rate from a long time. Germany has an economic interest in bringing young workers to fuel its economy.
According to the Federal Employment Agency, trade and service companies in Germany are finding it difficult to employ new workers as more than 37,000 trainee vacancies are going unfilled. A study conducted by the Robert Bosch foundation stated that Germany’s workforce could shrink by about 6 million by 2030.
Germany is aware of the fact that most of the Syrian refugees are educated and highly skilled including doctors and engineers and can contribute towards the economic growth by fulfilling the prevalent shortage of manpower.
Earlier, Chancellor Angela Merkel said in parliament that the refugees need to learn German and find a job quickly. She explained that if they do well, this will bring more opportunities than risk and tried to persuade Germans to embrace a new vision of their country by helping the newcomers in every possible way.
There have been mixed reactions over Merkel’s open door policy for asylum seekers. Though she was getting worldwide praise for such a humanitarian move but the policy has resulted in increased cases of xenophobic backlash and thousands of refugees were attacked and assaulted by far-right groups. Merkel has requested Germans to welcome these refugees with compassion and generosity and has vowed that those who are attacking asylum seekers will be punished with full force of the law.
According to Oliver Schmidtke, director of the Center for Global Studies at the University of Victoria and expert of migration, the asylum policy of EU has failed miserably as EU nations are highly divisive over the issue of the intake and settlement of refugees.
Schmidtke, who has closely observed the situation, feels that this generosity by Germany can be due to the recent attacks and backlash by xenophobic protesters over last few months and the country wants to emerge as a leader in the 28-nation EU by accepting these refugees.
Though most of the Syrian refugees are better educated but experts feel that the fact that none of them speak German is a critical issue and most of them will not be able to contribute towards the economic or social welfare for a long time. They have to learn German, need time to adjust to German people, law and society.
Considering rising cases of xenophobic attacks and facing criticism from a fraction of people in her own party, Merkel has said that the government is planning to reduce the number of refugees seeking asylum in the country which is in the interest of everyone.
Though Germany has faced attacks, rages and protests over the government’s open-door policy and did mistakes, but this will be forgiven for its generosity and a genuine effort towards the integration of EU nations.