Germany's immigration law threatens Balkan population

By Almir Terzic, Stipe Majic, Bojana Stojanovic, Adel Omeragic, Zulfiya Yakup, Lejla Biogradlija and Talha Ozturk

BELGRADE, Serbia (AA) – Germany's new immigration law — expected to be adopted to compensate the qualified labor deficit in the country — is said to cause serious population loss in the Balkan countries.

While those living in poor Balkan countries set their hope on it, the law will lead to a brain drain in the region and as well as a deficit in the qualified workforce.

The law expected to come into effect in Germany on on Jan. 1, 2019 will allow people from the Balkan countries to be employed in Germany. People of the region are eagerly waiting — though not many are yet aware of the danger.

Meanwhile, the German Embassy in Sarajevo said that the law was in the preparation phase and it was too early to evaluate the details.

– 'Bosnia and Herzegovina will be in danger'

Bosnia and Herzegovina Integration Union Director Mirhunisa Zukic told Anadolu Agency that the new law coming into force will cause a great danger for Bosnia and Herzegovina.

"We will lose many of our qualified people, especially engineers. Around 170,000 people already left Bosnia and Herzegovina in the last five years," said Zukic.

Zukic added that the law will also lead people who returned to their countries after the Bosnian war to once again go to Germany and other EU countries.

– Serbia loses mostly health workers

Serbia is another regional country that has problems with immigration to the EU countries.

According to the Serbian Labor Agency, the largest migration from Serbia to EU countries was from health workers and truck drivers.

The agency said while 144 people migrated to Germany from Serbia in 2018, workshops are being held in various cities — especially in the capital Belgrade — on living and working in Germany.

Miljana Pejic, member of several youth organizations, stressed that doctors and nurses in particular were ready to emigrate to Germany and the new law would cause these people to leave Serbia.

Preparing to leave for Germany, Tadjana Milicevic, said she was studying a master's program in the field technology and learning the German language.

"The conditions in Germany are very good. They need people who are experts in their fields," said Milicevic.

– Migrating youth of Montenegro and Kosovo

Montenegro — the smallest Balkan country — also has migration to Germany on its agenda.

The German Embassy in Podgorica said in 2017, 876 people emigrated from Montenegro to Germany and received applications to work in the fields of construction, gastronomy and nursing the elderly.

Almer Mekic, a member of Euromost association in Montenegro, said about 7,000 people migrated to EU countries over the past three years. The majority of those who migrated were university graduates.

According to the Kosovo Employment Development Agency's (APPK) data, around 5,000 Kosovar citizens migrated to Germany in 2017.

– EU member Croatia also on the list

Despite being an EU member, Croatians are constantly migrating. Nearly 300,000 people from Croatia have migrated to other EU countries since 2013 when it became an EU member.

Tado Juric, author of the book "Migration of Croats to Germany: Are We Losing Croatia?", said that Croats migrated because they felt "unneeded" in their own country, not because of poverty.

Croats are very pleased with the living conditions in Germany, Juric added.

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