In 2014, entrepreneurs and small-business owners with foreign backgrounds created some 1.3 million jobs in Germany, according to a new report released Thursday.
The study, put out by the Bertelsmann Foundation, one of Germany's largest nonprofits, found a 36 percent rise in such job creation over the past decade; in 2005, immigrants helped introduce some 947,000 jobs. This advance came while the number of people with immigrant backgrounds in Germany increased by just 9 percent during the same period.
Two years ago, as The Washington Post noted, Germany became the largest destination for immigrants after the United States, according to OECD data. We branded the country "the new land of opportunity."
The study found that immigrant businesses encompass a diverse range of activities — only 28 percent of business owners with foreign roots "are active within the restaurant and retail sectors, marking a 10 percent decrease since 2005," Deutsche Welle reports. "Many are present in other service sectors, including construction or manufacturing."
— BMWi Bund (@BMWi_Bund) August 11, 2016
The new data comes at a moment when the conversation on immigration and the role of foreigners in German society has taken a darker turn. Starting in 2015, the influx of hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees and other asylum seekers has roiled German politics. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who had opened Germany's doors to those fleeing Syria, has suffered considerable political blowback after asylum seekers were implicated in incidents of sexual harassment and violence.
A far-right, anti-immigration party has gained traction in parts of Germany, capitalizing on rising xenophobia and concerns over Islamist infiltration. The report's authors hope to emphasize how significant a contribution the country's more recent arrivals make.
"We show with our study that people with a migrant background in Germany do not take away jobs from anyone — quite the opposite," said Aart de Geus, chairman of the Bertelsmann Foundation, as cited by Deutsche Welle.
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