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Refugees in Germany having little impact in crime, unemployment

3 February 20172 comments

The arrival of more than a million refugees in Germany in 2015 has had no impact on the country’s unemployment rate, according to a new report.

And the impact of the influx of refugees on crime rates has been “marginal”, the report says.

Titled Jobs, crime and votes: a short-run evaluation of the refugee crisis in Germany, and produced by the Centre for European Economic Research, the study looked at data available up to the middle of 2016 to find the effect refugees and migrants had had on unemployment, crime and voting behaviour in Germany.

The authors say unemployment among Germans has not been affected by the number of refugees in a county or by the size of its reception centre.

“In both low and high migration areas unemployment actually decreased slightly,” the report says.

The reason refugees seem to have had no impact on the unemployment rate could be because not many have had their asylum application accepted enabling them to legally work, the report said.

Crime in areas with large reception centres – therefore having a higher capacity for refugees – more drug offenses have been recorded among both German and non-German people – an increase of roughly 1.4 per cent.

The authors suggest this could be because of an increased police awareness in these areas, which means more crimes are picked up. Fare-dodging only increases for non-German citizens. However, there has not been an increase in street crimes in counties with a higher inflow of refugees.

A key finding of the report was that even with a very large influx of refugees, there was only a small impact on some types of petty crime only.

The authors says this is a valuable counterweight to some of the scaremongering that has come from German politicians.

The report also looked at voting behaviour.

In areas with a higher numbers of refugees, Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats received a lower share of the votes.

But the AfD (Alternative for Germany) anti-immigration party has not automatically benefited from the wing of votes, rather they are split between parties on the political right and left.

The authors say they hope their findings might change the discussion around the refugee crisis.

“We hope we can contribute to a more fact-based debate and get away from the picture that refugees are more criminal than people living here or that they steal jobs,” Martin Ungerer, one of the report’s authors, said.

Laurie Nowell
AMES Australia Senior Journalist