GIGA Focus Global

Threat and Integration: Attitudes towards Refugees in Germany

Number 1 | 2023 | ISSN: 1862-3581

  • Since 2015, the number of recognised protection seekers in Germany has almost doubled. In the course of 2022, the number of people with Ukrainian citizenship arriving rose to almost one million. For the year 2023, German and European authorities expect refugee numbers to further increase.

    • At the end of November 2022, the University of Hamburg and the GIGA surveyed more than 2,500 people in Germany about their attitudes towards refugees. This survey is part of the radicalisation monitoring by MOTRA, a project funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community (BMI).

    • Although most people do not feel that their way of life and that their values are threatened by refugees, over 61 per cent believe that it is mainly violent criminals who come to Germany as refugees. Almost two-thirds oppose the swifter naturalisation of refugees, although almost three-fifths are in favour of official recognition of school and professional qualifications happening more quickly. Over 58 per cent of people do not want housing for refugees to be built in their neighbourhood. However, 55 per cent believe that refugees will more help than hinder the German economy in future.

    • A reference to the internationally guaranteed human right of asylum made by an organisation such as Amnesty International and the emphasis by employers’ associations on supporting refugees being an investment in the future can cause a reduction in associated negative perceptions. Meanwhile, confronting hostile statements on the further admission of refugees – the threat of excess numbers or citing existing capacity limits – does not cause respondents to revise their attitudes.

    Policy Implications

    In view of pronounced negative attitudes towards refugees, decision-makers in Germany face enormous challenges. References to the human right of asylum as well as labour market-related benefits could help to improve the acceptance of additional refugee arrivals in future.

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      Editor GIGA Focus Global

      Prof. Dr. Sabine Kurtenbach

      Lead Research Fellow / Editor GIGA Focus Latin America Editor GIGA Focus Global

      Editorial Department GIGA Focus Global

      Christine Berg

      Editorial Management

      Dr. James Powell

      English Copyeditor

      Dr. Thomas Richter

      Lead Research Fellow / Head of Research Programme "Accountability and Participation"

      T. +49 (0)40 - 428

      Dr. Katrin Brettfeld

      Faculty of Law, Universität Hamburg

      Prof. Dr. Peter Wetzels

      Faculty of Law, Universität Hamburg



      The GIGA Focus is an Open Access publication and can be read on the Internet and downloaded free of charge at According to the conditions of the Creative-Commons license Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0, this publication may be freely duplicated, circulated, and made accessible to the public. The particular conditions include the correct indication of the initial publication as GIGA Focus and no changes in or abbreviation of texts.

      The German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA) – Leibniz-Institut für Globale und Regionale Studien in Hamburg publishes the Focus series on Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and global issues. The GIGA Focus is edited and published by the GIGA. The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the institute. Authors alone are responsible for the content of their articles. GIGA and the authors cannot be held liable for any errors and omissions, or for any consequences arising from the use of the information provided.

      Speaker, Speaker, Speaker, Speaker, Speaker | 25/08/2022

      Polarization and Opportunism: Using Network Analysis to Explore how the German Far-Right Utilizes Escalations of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

      Mirna El Masri and Thomas Richter present the paper at the panel "Conspiring Elites and Disgruntled Masses? Revisiting the Populist and Extremist Challenges to Democracy" at the ECPR 2022. This work presents results from the MOTRA project and is co-written with colleagues from LMU.

      Julian Hohner

      Simon Greipl

      Mirna El Masri

      Heidi Schulze

      Speaker, Speaker, Speaker, Speaker | 25/08/2022

      The Impact of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict on Intergroup Attitudes in Germany: Evidence from a Natural Experiment

      Thomas Richter presents a co-authored paper in the panel "The International Dimension of Radicalization and Extremism" at the ECPR 2022. This work puts forward results from the MOTRA project and is co-written with colleagues from the University of Hamburg and WZB.

      Speaker, Speaker | 01/09/2021

      Internationale Entwicklungen (Naher/Mittlerer Osten und Nordafrika)

      Conference 01/09/2021

      Dr. Thomas Richter

      Lead Research Fellow / Head of Research Programme "Accountability and Participation"

      Selman Almohamad

      Research Fellow


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