A lot of people think that Germans are basically crazy in their immigration policy and have created a massive mess. So, let me lay out the entire story so it can be understood.
In case you didn't know....the reproduction rate roughly 1.4 for each German couple. It's been in decline since the 1970s. Over the last two years, I've read three different studies (private economic group, university group, and the government statistics folks). They all reach the same basic conclusion. The 82-million population will slide and in 20-to-25 years reach somewhere between 65 and 70 million people (at least 12 million less than it is today). It's not a 50-50 chance.....it's one-hundred-percent, with the only question being the amount of time it takes to reach this stage.
Blunt? Yeah....you can say this in various ways but they essentially have to be open-minded about immigration.
Back around a decade ago, the Bundestag sat down and wrote up a draft change, and discussed this for several years. By 2009....the new immigration law was put into place.
There are several basic doors of entry:
1. EU resident. This is the Greek, Brit, or Italian (27 countries total) that can find a job and get free access into Germany. No check or review is required. The same is true if a German wants to go and work in Spain or Greece....no paperwork.
2. Student visa. You apply to a university in Germany (state-run or for-profit) and get accepted. They issue you a visa for the period of school. At the end of the school process (with a degree), they give you roughly 18 months to find a job or exit. No one says statistics over this....so it's hard to say if take the student visa and eventually goes back to the home-country.....or applies to stay and work in Germany.
3. Business visa. Typically, it runs up to six months and is renewable. You could be here to perform work for a company, or to teach a class.
4. Residence permits are typically for the individual who wants to stay and work, but has zero interest in getting citizenship. In this case, you need to establish your occupation, skills, crafts, degree, etc. In the IT industry, it's fairly easy now to get your foot in the front door. For jobs like cooks or car-mechanics? Less so. Teachers? It depends on your background or degree.
5. Asylum/refugees. It used to be that the Wall or east-west relations kinda kept this under some control. What the German law says is that if you enter and request status under this umbrella....you must be considered, so they can't force you to leave. However, it means you will fill out a form....note your language ability (probably zero), and then list your job or craft background. If you had some skills....like heating technician, or instructor, or baker....then they give you a few more points and the evaluation may go well. However, if you were simply a guy on the street selling watermelons for the past ten years.....it's like a one-percent chance that they will approve a visa or residence permit.
Oddly, these two-million-plus folks who've entered Germany....tend to have this fantasy-like concept that entering means a 99-percent chance of acceptance. Frankly, while the Germans seem to be hyped and ever-so-polite.....well, they really don't want to mention it to you....that your odds are 5-percent in terms of staying.
Back when the BaMF group (the immigration agency) had only 250,000 folks to check out per year, this was fairly easy to review a guy in six to eight weeks (with him sitting in his home-country). With the roughly two million who've entered....it can take up to a year now to prove a guy's identity, check his crime record, review his language ability, and be sure of his past profession. It becomes a rather sad thing to come up to a guy then, and just say it in a blunt-German way.....you didn't pass.
There are 101 countries represented in Germany (at least by 2014 numbers). Yeah, it is a bit shocking.
Iceland for example....has roughly 1,500 folks residing in Germany. No one says much over what they do. My guess is that at least a quarter of them are university students.
Chile for example.....has roughly 7,000 folks residing in Germany. Some are students. Some are employed.
China has almost 120,000 folks in Germany. I'd take a guess that more than three-quarters are students. The odds that they graduate and decide to stay in Germany? Unknown. No one ever asks questions like that.
Are the Germans in some ways trying to recruit more immigrants? Yes. Just on the BREXIT factor alone....they are talking about 10,000 Brits and their jobs relocating from London to Frankfurt.
A wide open door? No. They'd like to ensure it's people who appreciate the offer, have a skill or degree, and won't be trouble-makers.
Americans interested in some adventure? You could likely apply with some basic German language skills and show some craft (like an Air Conditioning certification), or some skill (twenty years of running a business), or some degree (like nursing).....and find that in six months...the BaMF folks would approve your entry.
The Syrian angle? Few people grasp that Assad put real money into craft schools and university operations. A fair number of the Syrians who show up....have some background worth discussing. The Iraqis....less so. The North Africans....MOST-LESS SO.
So we come to the big problem. Once you've come to realize after 12 months that your application didn't get approved....you are supposed to leave, and the Germans have a problem in laying down the law on this. Lots of Germans want to get into the middle and try to hinder the exit of the migrant or immigrant. These are individuals who don't respect the law or the problems that lay out in this whole thing.
The immigration law? It ought to be a finely-tuned machine. That's what you'd expect out of the German culture. Well....it just hasn't worked that way. Some problems are simply incompetence of the people involved. Some problems involve no real management or leadership from Berlin. Some problems involve crime situations which have made people question their safety around urban areas. Some are simply Germans who seem to be overly nice and very open to new people from new lands....it wouldn't matter if it were Chinese or Thai folks....it'd just be nice to have someone new around. Naturally, if you were American, pro-Trump, and maybe right-wing....well...you probably wouldn't get that big hug like the Chinese guy would. Please note....Bavarians typically don't hug much and aren't that immigrant-friendly, unless you are from Austria.
That's the basic theme of this whole program. I think if the typical yearly average had stayed around 300,000 a year, and only a third of them were from the Middle East...this might have gone in a better way. I'd even go and suggest that 200,000 Chinese folks a year could arrive and probably find Germans overly friendly (something that's rare for them) and hyping up Chinese classes for Germans in every town to accommodate the new folks. But this thing of a million new folks a year....most without a real profession or degree? It's a problem.