Demographic change is increasing the need for immigration in the industrialized countries with aging societies, in order to cushion the effects of ageing and to secure social security systems. At the same time, the global migration potential is increasing and actual migration is growing, especially in the less developed regions of the world. This trend is likely to continue in the medium term, as more people are given the opportunity to migrate as socio-economic development progresses.
Challenges for society and policy makers
Society and policy makers must decide how they want to manage immigration. This involves the questions of how many immigrants should come with which skills, what assistance they need to integrate into the labour market and society, how their family members should be supported and how the institutions, from the EU to the local authority, will provide the necessary resources. The economic necessity of immigration is often met with reservations among the population. It is also the task of policy makers to discuss the meaning and purpose of migration with their citizens. This includes showing the consequences of states reducing immigration to a minimum. This requires a clear picture of what is happening in the field of migration and of the global migration potential for the EU and Germany.
Looking for a good life
Whether people decide to migrate depends on many factors. Among the most important influencing factors are economic, demographic and political factors, education as well as existing networks and the migration policy of the states. At the heart of these factors is the desire to change one's life, the search for freedom, security or a better income. Some migrate out of sheer necessity or flee wars, others because they hope to enjoy a better quality of life elsewhere. The motives for migration can rarely be clearly determined. Mixed migration is on the increase. The majority of international migrants move for employment reasons. Mostly they look for jobs within their country or region. Finding a job in Germany before migration is often complicated. German companies that need workers also complain of major obstacles: The legal situation is complex; the administrative burden is huge and many applicants lack qualifications. The Skilled Workers Migration Act, which came into force in 2020, is therefore intended to simplify and increase the influx of skilled workers from non-EU countries.
Education and employment
Despite all these obstacles, Germany is one of the most important destination countries for international migrants. Finding employment helps them to live their own lives independently and to build up contacts. Companies can support new workers while they are still preparing for the move, for example through language training or help with the immigration procedures. It is just as important that early childhood education and training programmes specifically support children from educationally and socio-economically disadvantaged and immigrant families. Even if education cannot remove all barriers to integration: Without education, equal participation in society is hardly possible.