More Than Half of German Welfare Recipients Come from Migrant Backgrounds


A report from the German Federal Employment Agency (BA) has shown that more than half of the recipients of the Hartz IV welfare income benefit come from migrant backgrounds, with Syrians the largest group in the country.

The report lists a 69 per cent increase in welfare recipients from non-German backgrounds since 2010 for a total of 2.1 million individuals, while the overall number of German Hartz IV recipients has fallen by 20 per cent over the same period, Die Welt reports.

Syrians represent the highest number of beneficiaries with 584,000 Syrian nationals living on benefits with Turks coming in second with 259,000 individuals living off the German taxpayer.

The figure does not include asylum seekers who have yet to receive a final decision on their asylum claim as they are given money under the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act. While most failed asylum seekers do not receive Hartz IV benefits, those who have failed the asylum process but are allowed to stay in Germany as “tolerated” persons do have access to the programme.

Around 32.1 million people in Germany are in jobs that require them to pay social security contributions; of those, only 157,000 taxpayers come from countries approved for asylum claims like Syria, Iraq, Eritrea, and Somalia.

The statistics show that individuals from migrant backgrounds take far more benefits from the state than they pay back into it. The issue is likely to cause problems in the near future as there are proportionally more migrant background individuals in younger age brackets. In some German cities, up to 70 per cent of children come from migrant backgrounds.

The figures mirror trends in other European countries with large migrant populations like Sweden where the unemployment rate for migrant background individuals was measured at  21.8 per cent compared to native Swedes at a mere 3.9 per cent last summer.

In Austria, which also took in tens of thousands of migrants in 2015, former Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka admitted that up to 90 per cent of asylum seekers end up on benefits.

Even in countries that have tighter migration policies like Norway, the welfare rate for asylum seekers is still high with Norwegian Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Anniken Hauglie admitting last November that asylum seekers made up half of all welfare recipients.

 Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at) 


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