Furthermore,I analyzed the interplay between social distance and time from migration (Gundel and Peters, 2007; Safi, 2010; Angelini et al.,2014) toexamine the relationship between social distance and the subjective well-beingof ‘recent’ immigrants – who have only been in the host country for a short periodand therefore hyperaware and quite sensitive to how different the new culture is-, and how that is distinct from that of ‘quite some stay’ and ‘very long stay’immigrants – who have been exposed to a longer period of the culturalintegration process. The results indicate that identifying withGerman culture has a significantly positive impact on the well-being of onlythe latter two sets of immigrants; those who have been in Germany for quitesome time and those with a very long stay. Also, mostly using German as the mainlanguage for communication is positively associated with higher level of lifesatisfaction of the ‘very long stay’ immigrants, only. For the proxies forsocial interactions, rare attendance of social gatherings by both ‘recent’ and’very long stay’ immigrants significantly impacts (negatively) their subjectivewell-being.
Moreover, I discover that visits to family and relatives ‘Everyday’is significantly associated with higher life satisfaction of only ‘recent’immigrants. The effect of contacting friends and family abroad on thewell-being of immigrants is however negligible for all three groups ofimmigrants.Therest of the thesis is organized as follows: Chapter 2 looks at immigrationpolicy and reforms drawn up over the years in Germany.
This is followed by adiscussion of the findings from previous literature on immigration andsubjective well-being in Chapter 3. Chapter 4 gives a description of the dataused as well as the econometric specifications and models employed for theanalysis. The estimation results are presented and discussed in Chapter 5 andChapter 6 concludes. CHAPTER 2 IMMIGRATION POLICY IN GERMANY 2.1 BackgroundInthis section, I present a brief background to immigration and discussimmigration policy as well as reforms drawn up over the years by policy makersin Germany.
Germanyis the most popular destination for migrants world-wide behind only the UnitedStates of America (OECD report, 2015), which has been the case for quite sometime now. With Germany finally recognizing and acknowledging that it is a’migration’ country, a new immigration law was passed and came into effect inJanuary 2005. A number of historical events and their outcomes, dating from theend of the Second World War to the erection of the Berlin Wall and later theGerman reunification culminated into the need for the passing of theImmigration Act on January 1, 2005. Priorto World War II, there were many Germans living outside of Germany in mostlyEastern and Central European countries.
However, close to the end of World WarII and in its wake, refugees (about 12 million of them) of ethnic Germans (alsoknown as ‘Heimatvertriebene’ or’expellees’ in English) from these places had to migrate to the newly createdpost-war Germany as a result of the shifts occurring with the borderlines inEurope. Another big wave of immigration to Germany began in the 1960s,following the erection of the Berlin Wall. During the 1950s and 1960s in theera of the ‘economic miracle’, more labourers were needed to make up for the shortagesin human capital. Hence, bilateral agreements between the West Germangovernment and countries like Italy, Greece, Turkey, Morocco, Portugal, Tunisiaand Yugoslavia paved way for the so-called guestworkers (‘Gastarbeiter’) to migrate to West Germany to take up jobs in theindustrial sector; these jobs did not require much qualification.
Although the progeny of these guestworkerswere not granted proper citizenship, a ‘right of residence’ was bestowed uponthem to allow them live in Germany. The German Democratic Republic (GDR) on theother hand, favored a different recruitment policy which brought in people fromother socialist or communist countries, with majority coming from Angola,Mozambique, Cuba, North Korea and North Vietnam. They believed these recruitswill learn skills that they could take and apply back home in their countries (Solsten,1995).
Thiswas followed by another stream of movement by migrants between 1980 and 1993,mostly involving a small stream of East Germans moving to the West (Übersiedler) during the 1980s but grewto a very large size of 398,000 migrants by 1990. In three years, this number willhowever be reduced by more than a half to 172,000 whereas a parallel movementwas going on by West Germans to the East (119,000). During this same period, anothergroup of immigrants, ethnic Germans (Aussiedler)from Eastern Europe and the then Soviet Union, were also immigrating intoGermany with about 400,000 coming in 1990.
The number of these ‘resettlers’totaled several millions and were instantly regarded as citizens on the back ofArticle 116 of the Basic Law, with their integration process being supportedwith financial and social assistance, including language training by thegovernment (Solsten, 1995). War refugees were also accepted by West Germanyin this same time frame. Between 1986 and 1992, many refugees made their wayfrom Iran, Lebanon as well as the war-torn former Yugoslavia, Romania, orTurkey to seek asylum in West Germany and later reunified Germany.