Most of the noncitizens currently residing in Western European countries originally came to Western Europe to
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consolidate the European Economic Community agreements
do graduate work in the universities
participate in the democratic political process
avoid forced military conscription in their native land
Most of the immigrants or descendants of immigrants to Western Europe who continue to lack citizen status in their countries of residence arrived in the period between 1950 and 1980, largely as economic migrants. While economic immigration was a significant factor in most Western European countries during this period, the more restrictive naturalization laws of countries such as Germany, Austria and Switzerland have resulted in a smaller percentage of immigrants to these countries being able to obtain full citizenship than elsewhere in Western Europe. Germany, in particular, pursued a policy of active recruitment of foreign guest worker immigrants during its period of strong economic growth in the 1960s, coupled with few opportunities for granting permanent German citizenship to these immigrants or, until recently, their children.