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Benefit Tourism in Germany: the Figures.

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Deutsche Bank Research is responsible for macroeconomic analysis within Deutsche Bank Group and acts as consultant for the bank, its clients and stakeholders.

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Debate on free movement. Does the EU need new rules on social security co-ordination? 20/03/2015






Germany is the most important destination for EU migrants.

Concerning social assistance for low-income earners, the number of those eligible from the eight central and eastern European countries that acceded to the EU in 2004 increased by 44,000 persons (63%) from January 2010 to November 2014. However the number of employees in Germany from these countries has nearly tripled, jumping by about 337,000.

The employment effect is clearly predominant also for migrants from Bulgaria and Romania, the Member States that joined in 2007. This even applies to recent times starting from end-2013 when the restrictions on migrants from these two countries were lifted. The number of low-income workers from Bulgaria and Romania receiving social assistance has since risen by roughly 34,000 persons (75%), while the number of workers has nearly doubled with an increase of 122,000 (92%).

Among the 6,012 million people drawing benefits in Germany in total, still only small shares are claimed by immigrants from the EU-8 and the EU-2: respectively 1.9% and 1.32%.

A significant number of these aid recipients are low-income earners, who in addition to their earned income also draw government transfers. Among the recipients from Romania and Bulgaria the share is roughly 25%. In a few major cities the figure is, in fact, no less than 70%.

In Germany, the authorities had granted child benefit to EU citizens from partner countries for nearly 68,400 children who were living abroad as of end-2013. This equaled only 0.46% of all children eligible for this benefit.

However, the number of child benefit applications from EU citizens has increased of late. For instance, the number of applications from Polish citizens went up by 34% from September 2012 to September 2014, to roughly 163,000. About one-third of the applications apply to children living in Poland.

Seasonal workers have increasingly also submitted applications. Germany spends roughly € 200 million per year on child benefit for seasonal workers from partner countries.