11 Abos und 10 Abonnenten
Artikel

German Cabinet agrees 'massive' immigration reform

BERLIN - Skilled workers from abroad should be able to come to Germany more easily in the future as Berlin seeks to secure the country's economic future, the government agreed Wednesday.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz's Cabinet approved the key points for a draft law that will loosen the rules on skilled labor immigration from third countries outside the EU.

"Germany will need all helping hands and bright minds in the future," said Labor Minister Hubertus Heil when presenting the plans together with the ministers for education, economy and interior affairs. Heil labeled the plans for a "massive recruitment strategy" as a "major and important step."

The German economy is suffering from a shortage of skilled workers and employees. This shortage is particularly severe in certain sectors, such as the hospitality and IT industries. Given Germany's relatively low birth rates and aging population, the problem is likely to worsen as baby boomers retire in the next few years.

All the necessary legislative changes are to be introduced "swiftly" and approved by the Cabinet at the beginning of 2023, Heil said.

Foreign specialists with qualifications recognized by Germany will be able to work in any qualified job in the future, according to the plan, seen by POLITICO. German officials would also no longer have to formally certify such qualifications before a foreign worker enters Germany.

The requirement to have a qualification recognized by Germany will be waived for those who have at least two years of professional experience and a professional qualification of at least two years recognized in their home country in professions not regulated by the state - for instance, academic jobs such as chemists or mathematicians.

The government also aims to attract people who do not yet have a German employment contract by introducing an "opportunity card" for non-EU nationals with "good potential." This card would be linked to a residence permit for up to one year to seek employment and entitles holders to trial or part-time jobs.

"It will be based on a transparent and unbureaucratic points system," the plan says. The selection criteria will include qualifications, language skills, work experience, age and "ties to Germany" - the meaning of which has yet to be specified.

"Today, the Cabinet has launched something that is long overdue," said Education Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger. She cited calculations by the Federal Employment Agency, according to which Germany still needs to recruit 400,000 people a year from abroad in addition to the domestic workforce to compensate for the aging population and counter the shortage of skilled workers.

Zum Original