A refugee child from Syria © dpa
The majority of the population in Germany sees migration as an opportunity. This is the result of a study by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation. According to the survey, a total of 53 percent would have a positive attitude toward immigration.
Only a minority of 15 percent categorically reject migration. For the survey, the SPD-affiliated foundation interviewed 3.000 women and men eligible to vote in Germany. Respondents were reported to be particularly open about the immigration of skilled workers: around two-thirds agreed with the statement that Germany needs foreign workers to counter the shortage of skilled labor.
Even foreigners who are obliged to leave the country and who are well integrated and have a job or training position should be allowed to stay in Germany, according to 78 percent of respondents.
Little openness to economic refugees
Acceptance of refugees in general depends on cause of flight, according to survey. 73 percent of those surveyed said that Germany should take in at least as many people in the future who had fled war or civil war. If refugees were persecuted in their home countries because of their religious, political or sexual orientation, 67 percent would accept at least as many of them as they do now. Respondents were less open about people fleeing for economic reasons or from poverty: More than half (57 percent) said Germany should take in fewer of them in the future.
According to the survey, a majority fear an increase in right-wing extremism and racist violence (86 percent), a growing division of society (81 percent), as well as more crime and a higher number of terrorist attacks (73 percent) against the backdrop of immigration. The influence of Islam on society frightens 64 percent of those surveyed. Meanwhile, only 30 percent fear increased competition in the labor market.
Clear legal framework for immigration
Policymakers should not underestimate the fundamentally positive attitude toward migration, the study's authors explained. They called for the mood not to be undermined by divisive politics and rhetoric: "Politics can only maintain the population's openness to immigration if it gains trust." Citizens wanted a clear rule-of-law framework for immigration. This included orderly and fair procedures for accepting refugees and migrants.