German Emigration Increases
"Koerber is one of 145,000 Germans who fled the fatherland last year amid record postwar unemployment, pushing emigration to its highest level since 1954, Federal Statistics Office figures show. Last year was also the first since the late 1960s that emigrants outnumbered Germans returning home from living abroad, the statistics office said.
Even more troubling to German officials and business leaders, many were skilled workers like Koerber. The loss of such people, they say, may threaten Germany's economic competitiveness in the future......
...That's reflected by the 630 postings recorded since Aug. 10 on an Internet forum on emigration hosted by Germany's Spiegel magazine. Germany doesn't have much of a future, a 40 year-old German teacher who moved to France said Aug. 26 in a typical posting. The teacher, writing under the alias ``Kritischer Leser,'' meaning Critical Reader, said he's working fewer hours and making more money than his sister, a doctor in Germany.
For Koerber, the decision to leave was largely one of taxes. In Germany, where the highest tax bracket starts at 52,152 euros ($66,600), he would have to pay 42 percent of every euro above that level. In addition, the German value-added tax -- a kind of national sales levy -- is 16 percent, which is scheduled to rise three percentage points next year.
``I only get 25 percent deducted from my salary and that includes everything,'' said Koerber of his pay packet in Canada. ``And I'm in the highest tax bracket!'' The goods and services tax in Alberta is 6 percent, cut from 7 percent in July, he said.
Other German expatriates cite what they say is the over- regimentation of the labor force. ``Life in Germany is totally over-regulated,'' said Christian Kaestner, 38, an attorney who moved from Munich to Cape Town, South Africa, in 1997. ``There are hardly any freedoms left, and you keep bumping into regulations and prohibitions....
...Taking into account gross pay, taxes, insurance and the cost of living, doctors make more money in Switzerland, said Matthias Dettmer, 31, an assistant pathologist in Zurich from the southern German city of Tuebingen. He makes more than double his former colleagues in Germany, who earn what he calls a ``cleaner's pay.''''