Migrant workers from Balkans to Germany on the rise after policy change

Refugees at Vienna West Railway Station during the European migrant crisis 2015 | wikimedia

Since the German government has brought change to its policy in 2016, the country has witnessed a remarkable increase in the number of migrant workers from Western Balkan countries, said a German newspaper quoting data from the Federal Labor Office.

The number of work permits for migrant labor from the region has increased to 62,957 in the first eight months of 2017, up nearly 60 percent year on year, the source quoted newspaper Welt as saying. 

In response to an intense increase in the number of asylum seekers from Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, Macedonia and Serbia at the peak of the refugee crisis 2015, Berlin initiated a new migrant labor scheme which allows citizens of these countries to move to Germany for work under certain circumstances.

For instance, individuals from Western Balkan region can now secure entry to Germany if they have an advance job offer.

However, the number of rejected labor migrants also escalated in 2017. Around 17,500 applicants under the new scheme were still turned away because they could not show evidence of a concrete job offer, or because there were already too many German applicants.

It is worth mentioning that the number of migrants entering Germany from Balkan countries fell more than seven times in March 2016 to below 5,000 due to the introduction of border controls by countries along the Balkans migrant route, an interior ministry official declared back then.

According to a Reuters report in 2016, the number of people entering Germany has fallen so sharply that some of the homes built by local authorities for migrants, for example in the eastern state of Thuringia, are empty.

Also, earlier in 2015, Germany announced that Kosovo, Albania or Montenegro would be classified as “safe countries of origin”, which means that people who come to Germany from those countries will be sent back more quickly, as few will be able to obtain asylum status.