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German government introduces draft law to attract foreign skilled workers

Christian Fernsby |
Germany’s interior and labor ministers on Wednesday presented a new bill to simplify and improve control of the entry of foreign skilled workers to Germany.

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The new law provides three routes for foreign professionals, as the two officials explained at a press conference in Berlin.

The first way concerns university degrees. Anyone who has a degree recognized in Germany will be able to do any qualified job in the future. In this way, the federal government wants to create more flexibility. The aim is that the EU Blue Card will be accessible to even more specialists with a university degree.

The second way concerns professional experience. Immigration should be made easier for skilled workers who have at least two years of professional experience and a professional qualification that is state recognized in their country of origin. In the future, the professional qualification no longer has to be recognized in Germany.

As a third way, the draft law provides for the introduction of a so-called "opportunity card" based on a point system.

Qualifications, knowledge of German and English, professional experience, connection to Germany, age, and the potential of the spouse or partner moving with the skilled workers are evaluated with points.

Also, employment of up to 20 hours a week will be permitted while looking for a job, as well as a trial job with a future employer for up to two weeks.

"We are finally taking the opportunity to create modern immigration law. We will ensure that we bring the skilled workers into the country that our economy has been urgently needing for years," Interior Minister Nancy Faeser told the press conference.

Labor Minister Hubertus Heil added: "Securing our skilled labor base is one of Germany's greatest economic tasks for the next few decades. We must make better use of domestic potential, for example through more training and further education and a higher labor force participation of women and older people."

For a long time, many German companies have faced great difficulties finding qualified specialists. The number of vacancies was around 1.98 million in 2022, the highest ever measured.

Skilled labor shortages affect companies in a large number of sectors and regions and are evident, for example, in the health and care professions, in childcare, in the IT sector and in many other production and service professions.

The shortage of skilled workers has developed into a risk for prosperity in Germany. Demographic development will further intensify this.


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