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Germany eases its immigration law to attract foreign workers from outside the EU


The Minister of Labor asks to make a "national effort" to get the 400,000 employees a year that the country needs

A nurse prepares to enter an ICU room at the Westerstede clinic in northwestern Germany. Martin Meissner (AP)

"Securing qualified workers is ensuring our prosperity."

The phrase of the Minister of Labor, Hubertus Heil, perfectly defines the spirit of the reform of the German immigration law that the Council of Ministers approved this Wednesday.

Berlin is preparing to deploy an enormous legislative effort to make the country more attractive to non-EU citizens considering emigrating to work.

The shortage of qualified labor is a problem of the first order for the largest European economy, which needs to incorporate 400,000 people from abroad each year to compensate for its aging population pyramid.

The German government, a coalition of social democrats, greens and liberals, is to ease the requirements for non-EU workers to access the difficult German job market.

It will do so by cutting down on tedious bureaucracy;

facilitating the homologation of foreign titles or even eliminating the need to possess them in some cases, and allowing the arrival of people without a work contract with temporary visas so that, once in the country, they try to find a job.

Heil has referred to the reform as "a massive recruitment strategy" and has ensured that it is necessary to make "a national effort" to implement it.

The lack of personnel in Germany is pressing for many companies and can be seen with the naked eye taking a walk down any shopping street.

The posters of "Work with us" or "We are looking for someone like you" follow one another in the windows of shops and catering establishments.

But the shortage is also enormous in sectors that are considered key to the future of the country, such as digitization and renewable energy.

Health also requires specialized personnel.

In education, there are States, such as Berlin, that are struggling to fill the teaching positions that remain free in public schools.

The government is aware that Germany needs to improve its attractiveness with respect to other European countries and to places like the United States and Canada.

“In the competition for talent and helping hands, we offer new and, above all, easier ways to work here.

Our goal is to create the most modern immigration law in Europe, ”Heil said during the presentation of the general lines of his proposal, which in the coming months will be drafted as a bill.

Among the improvements proposed by the document is that qualified foreign workers will also be able to work in occupations that have nothing to do with their training.

A mechanic may be hired as a warehouse employee, for example, something until now almost impossible due to the rigidity of the regulations and the official accreditations that are required for almost all trades.

Nor will it be necessary to approve the titles before arriving in Germany, as is the case now.

And he will count more work experience than qualifications when applying for a work visa.

System of points

A points system inspired by the Canadian model will allow the arrival of job seekers from outside the EU without a previous contract.

The so-called "opportunity card" will be like a temporary visa for those who meet several requirements, including having a university degree or professional qualification, at least three years of professional experience, knowledge of the language or previous residence in Germany and not being older than 35 years.

It is considered that these residence permits are valid for one year.

Many German companies give preference to nationals and citizens of the European Union to avoid the bureaucratic obstacles involved in hiring employees from the rest of the world.

Something that in the end ends up harming them, because many positions remain unfilled.

The procedures to accelerate this qualified immigration that the country needs "must be implemented quickly and pragmatically," said the Minister for the Economy and Climate, Robert Habeck.

The Federal Employment Agency estimates that Germany has to recruit 400,000 non-EU workers every year.

The implementation of the reform of the immigration law coincides with another burning debate in Germany, the proposal to facilitate access to German nationality for citizens of foreign origin.

The Minister of the Interior, Nancy Faeser, is also preparing to present a bill to reduce the period of residence necessary to become a German citizen from eight to five years, among other developments.

Faeser's plans include allowing dual nationality, that is, the new German citizen can maintain her original citizenship.

This reform, in a way complementary to the other, looks set to become the next battleground between the coalition led by Olaf Scholz and the opposition.

And also a source of disagreements between the partners of the tripartite.

The liberals of the FDP are already showing their concern about some of the points that the Social Democratic minister is considering.

The chancellor has publicly endorsed him: “Anyone who lives and works here permanently should also be able to vote and be elected;

It should be part of our country with all the rights and duties that this entails, ”she said Monday at an integration event.

The Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) welcomed the government's plans to ease the immigration of skilled workers, but called for improvements, for example, in recruiting apprentices from abroad.

The number of apprenticeships that remain vacant increases year by year and employers see non-EU workers as the solution to their problems in recruiting and training young employees.

The person in charge of Crafts, Hans Peter Wollseifer, called on the immigration authorities to become "welcome centers" and to issue visas more quickly.

"Otherwise people won't come, because Germany doesn't have the best reputation as a country to emigrate to anyway," he said in an interview with the

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Source: elparis

All business articles on 2022-12-01

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