In 2011 Germany celebrated the 50th anniversary of its first guest worker treaty. (At ASC we marked that historical moment with two lectures by historian Rita Chin and German-Turkish author Yadé Kara.)
In 2012 it seems as if history will repeat itself, albeit in a different context. Following the great recession that began in 2008, Europe’s governing bodies have imposed stringent austerity measures on the EU’s member nations. These measures hit the already weak economies around the Mediterranean the most, resulting in 20+ percent unemployment rates in Greece, Spain, and areas of Portugal. Germany, in the meantime, is experiencing a shortage of skilled workers and has begun looking south once again to increase its labor pool:
In the last 18 months, it has recruited thousands of the Continent’s best and brightest to this postcard-perfect town and many others like it, a migration of highly qualified young job-seekers that could set back Europe’s stragglers even more, while giving Germany a further leg up.
Read more about this new wave of labor migration in this NYT article.