More than 300,000 of the million-plus ‘refugees’ who entered Germany last year are working illegally in the country.
Germany national Broadcaster NRD, who made the calculation, also claimed that Arabic-speaking activists working in asylum centres were frequently helping migrants find illegal jobs in return for payments and bribes.
NRD said there was no way knowing numbers precisely, but that they had come to their conclusions after interviewing social workers, activists, and employees in the asylum industry, as well as migration experts in a number of major German cities.
Experts at the universities of Tuebingen and Linz said 30 per cent of all new migrants could be working illegally, but activists and social workers in Lower Saxony and Berlin said the number could be as high as 50 per cent.
Such significant numbers suddenly entering the labour market, without paying taxes, could cause disruption for native workers and drive down wages.
Even though Germany’s official statistics office puts last year’s influx at 1.1 million – the highest net immigration of foreigners ever recorded in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany – others have said it could be as high as 1.5 or even 2 million.
The broadcaster also documented several cases of activists exploiting migrants and helping them break the law.
Police in the Hamburg region told of a former employee of a refugee shelter in the town of Neu Wulmstorf who is suspected of “exploiting the plight of refugees for personal gain”.
The refugee centre employee, who spoke Arabic, offered refugee accommodation and privileges in the shelter as well as illicit jobs in exchange for kickbacks.
The accused man allegedly offered one refugee “an unregistered job at a discotheque in Hamburg’s Reeperbahn district” in exchange for “paying half of the wage to him”, the asylum seeker, who declined the offer, told NDR.
“Refugees” in Germany receive free food and accommodation while their asylum applications are processed, but some like to work for extra money to send abroad.
“They [refugees] have to provide for their families back home” as well as to pay human traffickers, a social worker in Hamburg explained to NDR.
“Some of them become really desperate, and leave the accommodation and are gone for two or three weeks, or leave in the morning and return in the evening,” he added.
Others aim to build up their skills in preparation for their lives in the West.
“Actually, I do not want to work illegally, I know that what I do is wrongful, it is a crime. However, I will not find any job otherwise,” one migrant told the broadcaster.