The economic growth achieved by the young nation of the Federal Republic of Germany in the 1950s and 1960s would not have been feasible without the “guest workers” recruited from abroad. Six decades later, the debate surrounding labour bottlenecks and shortages of qualified skilled workers is emerging once again. Without immigration, Germany seems to be in jeopardy as an economic location. The current general conditions governing labour migration are, however, different to those which prevailed in the immediate period following the war. This article provides a brief overview of the development of labour migration in Germany from the beginnings up to the present day.