Germany’s migrant population places major burden on healthcare system and state budgets

Ukrainian refugees queue for food in the welcome area after their arrival at the main train station in Berlin, Germany, on March 8, 2022. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
By John Cody
3 Min Read

Healthcare costs associated with Germany’s rapidly growing immigrant population are soaring, and the port city of Hamburg helps exemplify just how much the country is spending.

Authorities in Hamburg have paid out almost half a billion euros on medical care for migrants since 2015, according to a parliamentary query by the Alternative for Germany (AfD) parliamentary group in the city’s local parliament.

Asylum seekers in Hamburg have generated significant costs in recent years, with Alexander Wolf, the AfD parliamentary group spokesman, calling the figure a “huge sum which puts our community of solidarity at risk.”

Migrants obliged to leave the country must be brought home immediately,” Wolf demanded, insisting such a move was necessary to “relieve our social security funds.”

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“If the parent state pays for medical expenses in abundance for all migrants, then it will soon be sick itself,” he added.

Germany’s substantial intake of migrants over the last decades, and especially in the last six years, has placed enormous strains on the country’s budget. In order to deal with poorly integrated, and mostly unemployed migrants, many of them from the Middle East and Africa, more taxpayer money is being funneled into caring for them than ever before. In 2020, the German government indicated it planned to spend €64 billion to migrants for housing, integration, education, and health care over the course of four years. That sum came on top of the already tens of billions the government had spent up until that point.

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With a large influx of Ukrainian refugees, those costs can be expected to be pushed much higher, all at a time when inflation and rising healthcare costs associated with Germany’s aging population are expected to increase.

Hamburg, along with Berlin and other major German cities, remain top destinations for migrants across the world. Approximately 60,000 people registered as refugees are currently living in Hamburg. Of these, 2,800 do not have permission to remain and are required to leave the country. Recently, 15,000 more refugees from Ukraine have arrived.

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