Federal Labour Minister Hubertus Heil has announced an imminent reform of Germany’s immigration law to address the shortage of skilled workers in the country.
The shortage of skilled workers has risen to a new high in Germany, affecting 49.7 percent of companies in July, according to the ifo Institute.
Germany would have to pull out all the stops to secure skilled labour in the country through training, further training, the participation of women in the labour force and also the necessary immigration of skilled workers, Heil said in an interview with the newspapers of the Funke Mediengruppe.
Therefore, the government would in this autumn announce the details of a modern immigration law, which should make it easier for people to come to Germany to work, the minister revealed.
A key feature of the planned reform of Germany’s immigration law is the introduction of an “opportunity card” (Chancenkarte), a points-based system that will govern the immigration of skilled workers from non-EU countries.
According to this system – similar to the Canadian points system, persons with a degree recognised by Germany should immediately fulfil the requirement for the “opportunity card”. Further criteria are:
- a foreign degree or professional qualification,
- three years of professional experience,
- German language skills or a previous residence in Germany and
- aged under 35.
Non-EU nationals who fulfil at least three of the aforementioned criteria will be allowed to come to Germany even without a job offer. Holders of the opportunity card will have one year to look for a job but would have to finance themselves during that period.
The skills shortage in Germany has worsened significantly since 2009. Skilled immigration from non-EU is therefore necessary “to prevent the shortage of skilled workers from becoming a permanent brake on growth”, said Heil. It has been predicted that labour shortage will rise to about 2.4 million skilled workers by 2026 if drastic steps are not taken by government.