IMMIGRATION

Spaniards move to Germany in record numbers last year

Close to 30,000 packed their bags and headed to the European economic powerhouse

Agencies

Faced with massive unemployment at home, Spaniards upped and left for Germany in search of a better life in record numbers last year.

According to figures released Tuesday by the German Federal Statistical Office (Destatis), the number of Spanish immigrants arriving in Germany last year climbed by 45 percent to 29,910, part of a phenomenon Spanish Labor Minister Fátima Báñez has termed as “external mobility.”

That was the biggest number of entrants since Destatis started to compile the current statistical series in 1996. Since the current crisis broke in 2008, 85,367 Spaniards have moved to Germany.

An unprecedented 6.2 million Spaniards were out of work in the first quarter of this year, with the jobless rate hitting a record 27.2 percent.

Germany has also attracted immigrants from other so-called peripheral euro-zone countries such as Italy, Portugal and Greece. Some 4,000 more arrived from Portugal last year, 10,000 from Greece and 14,000 from Italy. According to Destatis, 966,000 foreigners settled in Germany in 2012, an increase of 15 percent on the previous year.

The most popular destinations in Germany were the more industrialized regions led by Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia, Baden-Württemberg and Hesse.