BERLIN, March 13 (Xinhua) -- Germany has continued to experience a longer-term decline in immigration since the height of the "refugee crisis" in 2015, official figures published on Tuesday by the Federal Statistical Office confirmed.
According to the Wiesbaden-based government statisticians, net immigration (the balance of the number of immigrants and emigrants) peaked at 1.14 million in 2015 before falling to circa 500,000 in 2016 and 450,000 in 2017.
The Federal Statistical Office noted that a trend reversal had first became apparent in 2016 when the total number of immigrants (European Union citizens, regular Third-Country-Nationals and asylum seekers) fell by 13 percent to 1.86 million in 2016. The closure of the so-called "Balkan route" had contributed to this development by lowering the number of new asylum seekers in Germany.
A decline in net migration was reflected in falling numbers of arriving Syrian (298,000 in 2015 vs. 146,000 in 2017), Afghan (80,000 in 2015 vs. 56,000 in 2017), and Iraqi citizens (60,000 in 2015 vs. 48,000 in 2017).
During the period, EU citizens accounted for 51 percent of total immigration while nationals from European countries which are not part of the bloc made up nine percent of the total. By contrast, only five percent were citizens of African states.