Two million: Germany records largest influx of immigrants in 2015

Germany's statistics office has recorded the highest number of immigrants in post war history. Net immigration increased by 49 percent in 2015 and for the first time most of the arrivals were not from Europe.

The Federal Statistics Office on Monday announced that it recorded the country's highest net immigration of foreign nationals to Germany in 2015, totaling over 1.1 million for the year.

Europe | 18.03.2016

"Net migration of foreign people amounted to 1.14 million. This is the highest net immigration of foreigners ever recorded in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany," said a statement from the statistics office.

The figure marks a 49-percent increase compared to 2014, which witnessed a net migration of 577,000 people.

The office registered in 2015 under two million immigrants arriving in Germany, while 860,000 departed again.

The figures are based on the numbers from January to August 2015 and estimates for the four remaining months of the year.

For the first time immigrants from non-European countries outnumbered those from Europe.

Controversial deal

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The announcement comes as Germany and other European countries struggle to cope with an influx of irregular migrants and refugees, many fleeing war-torn countries in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has dismissed efforts to cap the amount of refugees seeking protection in Germany, a move that placed her at odds with several allied lawmakers.

The EU on Friday finalized a controversial deal with Ankara that allows authorities to return all migrants entering the 28-nation bloc illegally via Turkey.

"The most important part of this deal is that it will end the business model of people smugglers and contribute to securing the EU's external border," Merkel said at a press conference following the agreement.

However, human rights watchdog Amnesty International slammed the agreement, saying it marked a "dark day for Europe and a dark day for humanity."

From Idomeni on the road to nowhere

Looking for a way through

Hundreds of refugees, including families with babies, marched from the Idomeni refugee camp in order to find an open passage to enter Macedonia.

From Idomeni on the road to nowhere

Braving the elements

Refugees try to cross a raging river in the hope of finding an alternative way to enter Macedonia and thus avoiding the fence.

From Idomeni on the road to nowhere

Sheer terror

A terrified young refugee receives help from others as she tries to cross the river.

From Idomeni on the road to nowhere

Stumbling block

Greek police tried to block the march of hundreds of refugees as they attempted to find a way through to enter Macedonia.

From Idomeni on the road to nowhere

Local help

Locals at the Greek border village of Chamilo, 1.5 kilometers from the border, distributed water to refugees during their long march to Macedonia.

From Idomeni on the road to nowhere

In distress

Tired and weakened, many refugees struggled to cross the river safely.

From Idomeni on the road to nowhere

Warning signs

This local man at the Macedonian border village of Moyi who met the refugees' march, appeared to inform the Macedonian police of their arrival. .

From Idomeni on the road to nowhere

Army threat

The Macedonian army appeared quickly as the first refugees entered Macedonian territory.

From Idomeni on the road to nowhere

Beaten and burned

An Afghan refugee claims he was beaten up and burned by the Macedonian police after his arrest.