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Ethnic German resettlers in Germany

Date 10 December 2013
Order number FFFB20
type Research report

The year 2013 sees the sixtieth anniversary of the adoption of the Federal Expellees Act (Bundesvertriebenen- und FlüchtlingsgesetzBVFG), and the twentieth anniversary of the Act Dealing with the Consequences of the War (KriegsfolgenbereinigungsgesetzKfbG).

Both Acts together form the foundation for the immigration of ethnic German resettlers rs to Germany. The Federal Government Commissioner for Matters Related to Ethnic German Resettlers and National Minorities in Germany took this as an occasion to commission the research group at the Federal Office to draw up the research report which is now available.

Ethnic German resettlers are ethnic Germans from countries in Central and Eastern Europe who have suffered from the consequences of war. Individuals who immigrated up to the end of 1992 are referred to as Aussiedler, whilst all those who came after that time are designated as Spätaussiedler. Whilst Poland and Romania were the main countries of origin until the end of the Cold War, since the 1990s it has been very largely individuals from the former Soviet Union who came to Germany.

Light and shadow in integration

The research report shows considerable success in many areas of the integration of ethnic German resettlers. For instance, ethnic German resettlers are more satisfied with their life circumstances in Germany in comparison to other groups of migrants, give a positive assessment of the integration climate, and are most likely to have long-term plans for the future. They are highly active on the German labour market, and they enjoy a relatively low unemployment rate. It is characteristic that ethnic German resettlers take up a “middle position” in the analysis of statistical data on integration between persons with no migration background, on the one hand, and those who have a migration background, on the other. This is the case for instance with regard to their income situation and to their school-leaving and vocational qualifications.

There are, however, problems with regard to the situation applying to a part of the elderly generation among those who immigrated from the 1990s onwards. Their ability to establish themselves on the German labour market was limited, and they have problems with low income in old age. Identity formation is also difficult in some cases for both younger and older ethnic German resettlers if expectations with which people came to Germany do not come true.

Outlook

There has been a considerable decrease in immigration by ethnic German resettlers since 2006, and there has been a reassurance in integration matters. In particular the fact that this group is relatively unobtrusive also suggests that its integration has been successful. A legal amendment which was adopted by the German Federal Parliament in June 2013, which amongst other things makes it easier to include family members, may bring about a renewed increase in immigration in the years to come. In the long term, however, this form of migration can be expected to come to an end since only individuals who were born up to the end of 1992 can be recognised as ethnic German resettlers.

The study was drawn up by: Susanne Worbs, Eva Bund, Dr. Martin Kohls and Dr. Christian Babka von Gostomski.

The report is only available in German.

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