The New Guest Workers: A German Dream for Crisis Refugees

4.0.1Half a century after her grandfather took the train from Seville, Spain, to Germany, Carolina López, 28, bought a ticket on a budget airline to Berlin. It was the dismal situation in Spain that prompted her to make the move in the late summer of 2012. Spanish economy is reeling, one in four Spaniards is unemployed. Joblessness is rampant among young people. López went to Germany looking for work, most of all, a future. It was a similarly distressed situation at home prompted her grandfather to go to Germany in 1961, because he couldn’t make enough money in Spain to feed his family. When Carol López talks about her grandfather, though, she still thinks of more differences than similarities. Germany with which she´s familiar from his stories no longer exists. Only German her grandfather Juan remembers is the foreman at the Continental tire factory in Korbach, who was constantly shouting at him. Juan, whose goal was to make money quickly, returned to Spain as fast as he could. Carolina López is indistinguishable from other young women in Berlin. She wears a loose shirt over her skinny jeans, and skateboard shoes on her feet. She laughs readily and often, she takes life seriously, but not too seriously. López lived in a shared apartment in Berlin for half a year when she studied marketing there in 2009. Berlin seemed free-spirited and international to her, says López, and more modern than Spanish cities. Now she’s back, this time she wants to live and work in Berlin, and even make it her home. A new generation of immigrants is coming to Germany: Europe’s crisis refugees. They are young, well-educated, multilingual. Many feel that their prospects at home disappeared when the European financial system began to falter, followed by the collapse of domestic labor markets in number of countries. They are now going to Germany, just as their grandparents did half-century ago, in search of a new future. In 1960s, guest workers from Southern Europe were the first large immigrant group to move to West Germany to find work. Now their grandchildren are following suit, forming next major wave of immigrants coming to Germany for jobs. Like their elders before, they are in Germany to find jobs and opportunities that their native countries cannot provide. This time, members of new wave of immigrants are working in university laboratories rather than on assembly lines. Instead of doing the work others won’t, they are moving into corner offices, becoming senior physicians, designing products for others to assemble. They have better educations and are more self-confident than previous immigrant generations, and for this reason see themselves as neither guests nor workers. Instead, they feel that they are European citizens and take it for granted they belong anywhere in Europe, and will leave again if they find that they like it better someplace else. They constitute an elite that is now immigrating and changing society’s image of immigrants (…..)



Acerca de ignaciocovelo
Consultor Internacional


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