Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Germany, the Numbers, and Immigration

One of the better choices of Germans news sources....is the Handelsblatt....the German equivalent of the Wall Street Journal.  The negative is that it doesn't come in an English version.....nor is it a simple reading document (you can figure 90 minutes of reading time, if you actually go and read the entire daily edition).

My wife gets it.....mostly to observe German business news and investment strategies.

Yesterday, they laid out a five-star graphical piece.....two entire pages....with information that they'd gleaned from BAMF (the state immigration agency) on immigration and refugees.  It told the story of what refugees offer and how each group are packaged in a different way.

So for example.....you take the fine graphic of Syrian refugees.  Twenty-seven percent have some fairly decent level of education....with forty-one percent who speak English, and one-percent who spoke some level of German upon arrival.  They made up roughly 327,000 in 2015.

The most educated or trained group?  The Iranians, with 35-percent of them having a degree or craft....but there were only 19,000 of them to arrive in 2015.

The least of the groups in 2015?  The 25,000 who came from Pakistan had only 8-percent with some education or craft to offer....and only five-percent speaking English.

I might also put the group from Eritrea (18,000) at the end of the spectrum as well....with less than 4-percent with a degree or craft, but 18-percent of them did speak English.

The other story told by the Handelsblatt graphic is the incoming and outgoing numbers.  All total....2.1 million people arrived into Germany in 2015.  Yet, almost one million didn't stay.....either moving onto another country or returning back to the home country.

What you get from this whole graphic?  Well....there are simply a lot of people who don't have an education or craft to offer in a positive way for quick and easy employment.  Translation?  Roughly two-thirds of 1.1 million who came in 2015.....won't be easily employed and will require not just months of job training and language classes.....but perhaps even two or three years.  This also translates into a monetary amount of money, which the Berlin leadership can never really say with a definite feeling....how much this will cost.

If you go to the Hessen state leadership.....they will tell you how much regular school costs (for kids) have risen, and how much they are pouring into job-center training or certification-related classes.  They can relate what they were paying in 2014 and what it's gone up to today.  Oddly, getting all sixteen states to some table and getting the German federal government to grasp the cost....doesn't ever seem to be a big priority.  It's like.....it's best we not know what the real cost amounts to or how it relates to the revenue taxation business.

But you can go further with the numbers and talk about what these Middle East countries have done over the past two decades in terms of education.  Assad?  For all the evils that one brings up, he put a fair amount of state capital into training, craftsmanship, and universities. The same can be said for Iran.  Eritrea?  Not very much.....and Afghanistan has nothing much to brag about.  It's not to say everyone from Syria is 'gifted', but it does give them a step up on the immigration and integration process.

There are a hundred ways of looking at how the Berlin leadership handled the refugees and immigration process over the past four years, and grade them from dismal to positive.  The general public today (more than fifty-percent) ask questions....more so than in 2014 or 2015.  They'd like to know just how deep into a mess they've gotten, and how much this will cost in the end.  It's safe to say that the answers aren't comforting or appreciated.  But then you go back to the original German problem.....lack of a decent birth-rate.  If nothing happened, by 2045....they'd be down to sixty-five to sixty-eight million residents (from the eighty-one million of today).  This has been discussed in volumes by private foundations, government statistical agencies, and university research projects.....so it's not much to dispute.

Maybe twenty years down the road....something about this whole thing will make sense and prove the Berlin leadership somewhat correct in their strategy (if there was one to actually exist).  Maybe we will find 40-percent of the burger flippers for Burger King in Germany to be Eritrean in twenty years.  Maybe some Syrian 19-year old kid in twenty years will be Chancellor of Germany.  Maybe three Iranian-German women will win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in twenty years, who were teenage refugees in 2015.  You just don't know.

My parting comment is that occasionally, these five-star graphics in the Handelsblatt will give you a ton of information if you really sit there and read through all the numbers.  

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