“We need you”, said Robert Habeck, Vice-Chancellor of Germany and Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, in a video message posted on YouTube aimed at international workers. Germany is currently facing a shortage of skilled workers which is expected to reach seven million by 2035. The rise in the lack of skilled workers, especially in IT, healthcare, education and hospitality, is triggered by an ageing workforce, digitisation and other external factors.
To combat the shortage and build a bright future for the largest economy in Europe, the German government has come up with several supportive measures including a relaxation of immigration laws to enable skilled EU and non-EU workers to join the labour force. With the labour shortage already being an existential issue for many companies and the skilled immigrant requirement rising to 400,000 a year, it’s the right time to migrate to Germany for studies and professional commitments.
So, what are the changes implemented by the German government to welcome skilled workers to the country?
Why does Germany need skilled workers?
The German federal government is overhauling immigration laws to make them more welcoming to international workers. By easing immigration laws and procedures, authorities expect skilled workers from around the world to migrate to the country and join their workforce.
Germany is the largest economy in Europe and the fourth largest in the world. Despite the best efforts from the authorities, there is a huge shortage of skilled workers in the country.
Although there is no significant nationwide skilled labour shortage, certain industries like IT, hospitality, construction, education and healthcare are facing severe shortages which can be filled only with an international skilled workforce. According to a report by the Ifo Institute for Economic Research, 49.7% of companies in Germany are affected by labour shortages and are forced to cut down their operations.
From Airbus to BMW, leading companies are unable to keep up with the growing market demands due to an ageing workforce and the effects of the global pandemic. Not to forget the energy crisis that affects industrial production in the country. As Germany is on the path to building a culture of sustainability to reduce the energy crisis, the labour shortage will be a big hurdle to overcome.
If not addressed immediately, the growing shortage of skilled workers can adversely affect the growth of the German economy. That is why authorities are hastily making amendments to the immigration law to attract skilled international workers and meet the demands of the job market.
What are the proposed amendments to the immigration policy?
The German government has agreed on relaxing the immigration policies to facilitate the easy passage of skilled workers from European and non-European countries. Nancy Faeser, Federal Minister of the Interior and Community of Germany, has said that the reforms initiated by the federal government will result in the creation of “the most modern law on immigration in Europe”.
Here are the major changes proposed by the German federal government:
- An opportunity card based on a points system, like in Canada, that would assess immigrants based on factors like education, language skills, work experience and age.
- The requirement of possessing a degree recognised by German institutions will be waived for workers with at least two years of professional experience and those with a two-year professional qualification recognised by their national standards.
- Making changes to the constitutional law to grant dual citizenship to non-EU workers. Before, workers had to sacrifice their native citizenship to be eligible to apply for German citizenship.
- Reducing the time to apply for citizenship from eight to five years. Foreign residents in Germany can now apply for citizenship after living in the country for five years and in some cases three.
- Easing the procedure for skilled workers to bring families to Germany as they are no longer required to provide language proficiency certificates to be eligible to arrive in the country.
- Extension of EU-blue cards to non-academic professions too. The blue card was introduced ten years ago in an attempt to attract highly skilled and qualified academicians. In the latest reform, this will be extended to people with vocational qualifications too.
These steps, which are expected to be introduced next year, will mitigate the shortage of skilled workers by attracting workers from not just European countries but from all over the world.
If you are looking for a lucrative job opportunity with excellent standards of living, now is the right time to migrate to Germany. For this, you might need an educational qualification in any of the most in-demand fields in the job market. Check out the programmes offered at the University of Europe for Applied Sciences (UE) Germany ranging from arts and business to IT and data science.
At UE, we offer programmes that cater to the needs of the job market and help you acquire professional skills that are highly valued in any workplace. The practice-oriented curriculum and the international focus on subjects prepare you for a lucrative career with leading organisations.