Attitudes toward migrants and refugees coming to Germany seem to be shifting slowly. While Germans were lauded for their "Refugees Welcome" attitude back during the height of the so-called refugee crisis of 2015-16, many appear to have more critical views about Germany's immigration policy now.
Just over half of all Germans say that they would prefer the country to take in fewer refugees and migrants. That’s according to a representative survey conducted by ARD Deutschlandtrend with the support of the infratest dimap polling institute earlier in the week, using a sample size of 1,360 eligible voters.
Three years ago, only 40% said they wanted fewer people to come to the country; at that time, the number of refugees and migrants arriving in Germany was also lower.
In 2020, about the same percentage of people said that Germany should keep taking in refugees and migrants at about the same rate as it did then. That has now dropped to 33%.
This is despite the fact that Germany is growing more diverse: in 2023, a quarter of all people in Germany were found to have a so-called migration background.
More positive views on recruiting skilled workers
Respondents in the survey were somewhat more positive about taking in skilled workers from abroad: four in ten Germans said the country should recruit more skilled workers, while 28% thought that the current level was adequate.
Only 23% said Germany should recruit fewer skilled workers from abroad.
Read more: Is Germany's skilled-labor shortage a myth?
The survey also found that 54% of those asked believe that Germany overall suffers setbacks as a result of immigration. In January 2017, that number was a bit lower at 50%.
The rate of people who believe that Germany generally tends to benefit from immigration has roughly remained the same over the years: in 2017 as today, 33% of the respondents voiced that view.
In general, those surveyed showed kinder attitudes towards people seeking protection in Germany because they fled war (84% support), fled famine or natural disasters (70%) or political or religious persecution (68%).
By contrast, the idea of Germany taking in people seeking work opportunities only received 30% support.
Calls to fundamentally change asylum process
Meanwhile, a significant majority of those surveyed said they supported the idea of conducting asylum procedures at the external borders of the EU. In total, 79% of those questioned expressed their support for this plan.
This comes after Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser announced that she would campaign for this at EU level. However, voters seem to be far more concerned with issues closer to home:
More than three out of four Germans (77 percent) said they believed that Germany's political parties were paying far too little attention to problems caused by the arrival of refugees and migrants in Germany since 2015.
Almost a third (29%) even said that politicians were doing too much to help migrants and refugees.
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