Shortage of skilled workers: Immigration law: muted expectations

Employers and trade unions do not expect the new law on the immigration of skilled workers to remedy the shortage of skilled workers in Germany quickly.

Shortage of skilled workers: Immigration law: muted expectations

Employers and trade unions do not expect the new law on the immigration of skilled workers to remedy the shortage of skilled workers in Germany quickly. "The law on the immigration of skilled workers is a step in the right direction. But much more needs to be done," said Employer President Rainer Dulger of the German Press Agency in Berlin. Yasmin Fahimi, chairwoman of the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB), said that facilitating immigration was the right thing to do. "However, it will still be a few years before we experience noticeable qualified immigration."

Dulger recalled the barriers for skilled workers from abroad in Germany, for example with the language. "There are often difficulties in finding housing and looking after children," he said. "In countries like Canada, there is also a much more open welcoming culture." In many countries, foreign skilled workers can submit a large part of their applications and documents digitally before entering the country - including faster processing. "We talk and announce a lot - but hardly anything is implemented."

“Other measures must take effect in the short term”

The Skilled Immigration Act passed in June provides, among other things, for a so-called opportunity card based on a points system. The selection criteria include language skills, professional experience, age and connection to Germany. In addition, IT specialists in particular should be allowed to come even if they do not have a university degree, but have certain qualifications.

Fahimi said: "In the short term, other measures must take effect." For example, those who have already immigrated should be better integrated into the regular labor market. "It is good and right that the possibility of changing lanes has now been granted." It is planned here that asylum seekers who entered the country before March 29, 2023 and have a qualification and a job offer can apply for a residence permit as a skilled worker. Previously, you had to leave the country and apply for a work visa from abroad. Now only the asylum application has to be withdrawn.

Deficits in education

Dulger and Fahimi also called for more efforts to train local professionals. "One of the things it's about is getting people back to work. That also means better education. Every young person who leaves school without a degree is one too many," said Dulger. Fahimi emphasized: "We now have more than 2.6 million young adults without professional qualifications who urgently need to be qualified."

In addition, the average working time of women is far too low - also due to a lack of infrastructure for childcare, according to the trade unionist. Dulger also believes that more all-day schools and day-care centers are necessary "so that more employees can work full-time".

Dulger also sees "a great opportunity" in overcoming the shortage of skilled workers in digitization, as the employer president said. "We should have AI systems do a lot of diligent and routine work in the future," he said, referring to the development of artificial intelligence. "Ideally, we can standardize and automate administrative services and processes." This relieves the employees and makes the authorities more digital and faster.

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