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Labour migration

Labour migration means the movement with the objective to seek employment in another region than the one a person has previously lived in. Such a movement can be motivated by the comparatively worse employment situation in the region of origin as well as in the better employment situation and/or standard of living in the region of destination. Programmes for the recruitment of foreign workers existed already since the German Empire. During the time of the economic upturn after the Second World War the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) concluded several bilateral labour recruitment agreements to recruit foreign workers, the so-called “guest workers”, to work in West Germany. These agreements were effective from 1955 to 1973. The German Democratic Republic (GDR) recruited migrant workers from other socialist states between the 1960s and the German reunification in 1990. These workers were known as “contract workers”. However, people have also migrated to Germany to seek employment individually and beyond recruitment agreements or specific programmes.