Germany’s foreign population only grew by about 204,000 or 1.8 percent year-on-year, the lowest growth in a decade, and reached 11.4 million in 2020, the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) announced on Monday.
Net immigration to Germany, which has a population of around 83 million, plummeted by 31 percent compared to the previous year.
While growth of Germany’s foreign population from other countries of the European Union (EU) remained stable, at 2.2 percent, the figure for third countries outside the EU decreased by more than half compared to the previous year, accounting for 1.5 percent in 2020.
At the beginning of last year, the German government introduced the new Skilled Immigration Act, changing the legal provisions concerning the residence and immigration of skilled workers from third countries outside Europe.
Assessing the new law, the Expert Council of German Foundations on Integration and Migration (SVR) recently found that labor immigration remained of “central importance for the German economy and welfare state in view of demographic change.”
Because of Germany’s aging population, the country’s economy required at least 260,000 skilled immigrant workers per year by 2060 to counter a falling supply of labor, a study by Bertelsmann Foundation found in 2019.
Before the COVID-19 crisis, a majority of German companies considered a shortage of skilled workers as the “greatest business risk,” according to a survey by the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK).