Germany becomes one of the most popular immigration destinations

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Germany has slowly become one of the most popular immigration destinations in the world overtaking such countries as the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. Data released Tuesday by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development showed a near 40% increase in immigration to Germany in 2012.

The strong German economy, combined with a 5,1% of unemployment – more than half of the European average has been seen as a major pulling factor for many prospective immigrants. Around 75% of the immigration is made from people that come from other EU countries and need neither work nor residence permits in order to live and have a job in Germany.

Despite the fact that the statistics show that most of the immigrants that come in Germany are employed and are better qualified than the average of the population, the generous benefits system is also attracting a decent amount of people. Successive waves of EU expansion to countries such as Bulgaria and Romania, where gross domestic product per capita is about 50% below the EU average, have stoked concerns about benefit tourism in Europe.

This has led to the rise of some eurosceptic sentiments in the country. The AfD (Alternative fur Deutschland) party, for example, wants Germany to leave the Eurozone and the common currency to be abolished. The Afd party has received around 6% of the vote in the recent European Parliament elections and has managed to send a member in the European Parliament.

Unlike many countries in Europe where the economic crisis has weighed on the political climate, Germany has been spared some of the more virulent anti-immigrant rhetoric of antiestablishment parties elsewhere, thanks to its economic resilience, political analysts say.

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