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Economic Germany Essay

1323 words - 6 pages

The guest workers were a way for West Germany to benefit from a flow of young and fit labourers, as well as for the countries of origin to benefit as the workers would gain critical skills to improve their own economies once they returned. West Germany focused mainly on the Mediterranean countries for its pool of guest workers. The different workers came in separate waves of migration, depending on their nationality. The first workers were Italians after an agreement was signed in 1955, followed by Greek and Spanish immigrants in 1960, Turks in 1961, Portuguese in 1964, Tunisians in 1965, and Yugoslavians in 1968. Multiple recruitment agencies set up throughout the Mediterranean advertising employment options in West Germany trying to appeal to both male and female workers. The program was so attractive that from 1960 to 1978 the number of guest workers has risen from 329,326 to nearly two million.
 In consequence of the term “guest worker,” the migrant workers were only seen as a temporary necessity. The guest workers were offered temporary non-renewable employment and only obtained a working visa for a one to two year period. Once the workers had finished their employment contract they were all expected to return to their countries of origin. Obtaining German citizenship for those who planned on remaining in the country was completely out of the question. Even children born to these workers were not granted any privileged rights to remain in Germany or access to German citizenship. Regardless of the policies in place many employers found it beneficial for the same employees to remain working for longer than originally permitted. In 1964 the two-year maximum on working visas was eliminated because of at the request of the employers. The “temporary” guest workers, were then viewed as a more valuable resource than once originally planned. 
 The 1970s saw a change in attitudes and policy, putting a temporary halt on the flow of labour migration. The oil crisis in 1973 and the recession put a strain on West Germany’s economic sector and its path to economic growth. These issues caused West Germany to pull back on its guest worker program. The country set a limit on the number of guest workers it was to permit and planned for most of its migrants of the period to return to their country of origin. The push to expel all the guest workers was so forceful that they were even offered funds by the government to return home. These renumeration funds fell under the Promotion of Readiness to Return law and offered guest workers a lump sum of 10,500 Deutsche Marks in 1983 to permanent move back to their countries of origin. Remigration measures were constructed to make the emigration of these workers more imperative, yet with increased migration their success rates proved unimpressive.
 Despite the fallbacks during the 1970s, migration efforts were revitalized in the late 1980s. Migrant workers and their families were reintroduced into the West German...

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