Germans are getting used to the fact that the Federal Republic is a destination country for immigrants. That is one of the findings of a survey carried out by research institute TNS Emnid on behalf of the Bertelsmann Stiftung. More people in Germany now believe the country is welcoming of newcomers than was the case just a few years ago. Six out of ten people queried believe that immigrants receive a friendly welcome when they arrive. In 2012, the last time the survey was carried out, only half the respondents said that was true. Yet Germans remain unsure whether immigration benefits society or is detrimental to it. In addition, people in the country's east are more skeptical of immigrants than people in the west.
Higher expectations of both immigrants and society
People of both German and non-German heritage believe they live in a country that is becoming increasingly accepting of immigrants. Overall, 68 percent of the survey's respondents of non-German heritage and 73 percent of those of German heritage say that German authorities are welcoming to immigrants (2012: 57 and 66 percent, respectively). At the same time, people increasingly believe that immigrants should make an effort to integrate. For example, 97 percent say newcomers should try to get on well with the native population (2012: 88 percent), while 80 percent would like to see more civic engagement on the part of immigrants (2012: 72 percent).
The German population also feels, however, that more must be done to make newcomers feel welcome. In order to make it easier for immigrants to get a foothold, 82 percent of the respondents say the country's Federal Employment Agency should offer immigrants special assistance (2012: 68 percent). In addition, 76 percent believe it should be easier for immigrants to have their non-German educational degrees or qualifications recognized in Germany, and 62 percent are in favor of permanent residence permits (2012: 69 and 55 percent, respectively). Moreover, 56 percent believe Germany should make it easier for non-natives to become citizens and 54 percent say that laws should be passed to combat discrimination against immigrants (2012: 44 and 47 percent, respectively).