Many companies are finding it difficult to fill vacancies/Photo: Femi Awoniyi

Germany needs 400,000 new immigrants per year — National employment agency chief

The population in Germany is stagnating and the number of workers is decreasing. To avoid a labour shortage in the future, Germany needs about 400,000 immigrants per year, according to Detlef Scheele, head of the Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit).

Due to demographic developments, the number of potential workers of typical working age is already decreasing by almost 150,000 this year, Scheele told the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” in an interview published Monday. In the coming years it will be “much more dramatic”.

Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, can only solve the problem by, for example, qualifying unskilled workers, allowing female workers with involuntary part-time employment to work longer – and above all by bringing immigrants into the country, says Scheele.

He warned that there will be a shortage of workers in all sectors. “You can stand up and say: we don’t want foreigners. But that does not work,” Scheele said.

““From nursing to air-conditioning technicians to logistics workers and academics: there will be a shortage of skilled workers everywhere,” Scheele said. “I don’t understand why nobody is talking about this.”

Germany introduced the Skilled Workers Immigration Act, designed to accelerate visa and residence permit applications for workers with sought-after vocational skills, in March 2020. The coronavirus pandemic has not allowed the smooth takeoff of the legislation.

Net immigration to Germany in 2020 was 209,000 and it was the first time in almost a decade that the population did not grow, according to the Federal Statistical Office.

Femi Awoniyi

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