Outward migration: A quarter leave for reasons relating to their right of residence

When foreign workers leave Germany, they leave gaps in the German labour market. A study by the Institute for Applied Economic Research (IAW) which was commissioned by the BA has shown that the outward migration is frequently associated with issues relating to employment and the right of residence.

18 Jan 2023 | Press release no.4

A quarter of the workers from third countries surveyed left Germany for reasons relating to their right of residence. Another quarter of those surveyed cited employment-related reasons, such as the end of a temporary job, the onset of unemployment, or because their work-related qualifications had not been recognised.

Those surveyed also cited a lack of social integration as a reason for leaving, while economic or family reasons were also mentioned, but less often. The decision to leave Germany is often due to several different factors.

Discrimination overshadows the question of whether to stay or leave

Two out of three highly qualified professionals from third countries also claimed that they had experienced discrimination in Germany due to their personal origins.

Germany scores well in terms of satisfaction

Other results of the study speak in favour Germany, however: According to the survey, those surveyed felt more satisfied in all the relevant areas of their life in Germany. In particular, this applies to salaries and compliance with workers’ rights.

Vanessa Ahuja, the executive with responsibility for international business, explains: “If large numbers of workers from third countries decide to say goodbye to Germany, it increases the pressure on immigration. In terms of the planned reform of the laws on the immigration of skilled workers, we need faster, less bureaucratic procedures, as well as the social consensus so as to welcome and integrate workers from third countries. Without immigration, our potential workforce will fall by seven million people by 2035. Even if we draw on all the potential employees currently living in Germany, it still won’t be enough. In addition to our efforts at home, we need foreign workers and professionals to ensure that the German labour market continues to function well.”

First results are available

These are the results of an exploratory preliminary study by the Institute for Applied Economic Research (IAW) at the University of Tübingen which was commissioned by the Federal Employment Agency (BA). The study examines the reasons for the return and onward migration of foreign workers after working and living in Germany. A total of 1,900 workers were interviewed via social media channels. The detailed results of the representative study will follow in the next few years to gain more substantive insights.

The study has been published at https://www.iaw.edu/iaw-impulse.html