March 13, 2018 / 9:21 AM / a year ago

German immigration slowed in 2016 to less than half 2015 level

FILE PHOTO: Immigrants are escorted by German police to a registration centre, after crossing the Austrian-German border in Wegscheid near Passau, Germany, October 20, 2015. REUTERS/Michael Dalder/File Photo

BERLIN (Reuters) - German net immigration slowed to 500,000 in 2016 from 1.14 million in 2015, the year of the country’s refugee crisis, the Federal Statistics Office said on Tuesday.

In 2016, 1,865,000 migrants arrived in Germany and 1,365,000 people emigrated, the office said.

The swell of migrants arriving in 2015, many fleeing war in the Middle East, helped fuel the rise of the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, which surged into parliament for the first time at last year’s national election.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s new coalition government, which is due to take office on Wednesday, has pledged to manage and limit migration to Germany and Europe to prevent a repeat of the 2015 refugee influx.

Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by Madeline Chambers

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