“Our economy can look forward to 300,000 new specialists,” the member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats told daily Financial Times Deutschland.
The number is the minister's estimate of how many potential immigrants Germany is excluding from the job market with its current system of credentials assessment, she said, adding that the new draft law would attract mainly scientists, engineers and medical workers.
According to the law, every person who had qualifications from abroad would be entitled to have them assessed by German officials within three months.
In comments that mirrored those of her party's leader Merkel over the weekend, Schavan called her proposal a signal for more educated immigrants.
“This law is a symbol that qualified skilled workers are welcome in this country,” she said.
The initiative comes after Chancellor Merkel positioned herself closely to controversial comments by Bavarian state premier Horst Seehofer over the weekend at meeting of the youth wing of her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in Potsdam, saying the concept of multiculturalism had failed utterly.
From now on, only skilled immigrants who understand the German language and legal system would be welcome in Germany, Merkel said, warning against "immigration that weighs down on our social system."
Over the weekend Education Minister Schavan had seemed to contradict Merkel and Seehofer when she said: “It is not immigration that should agitate us, rather emigration out of Germany. If we don't do anything against that, the lack of experts here will develop into a brake on economic growth.”
On Monday Economy Minister Rainer Brüderle echoed her concerns, telling broadcaster ZDF that the country should work to get German workers back from abroad.
“In the last few years we've lost many skilled workers and scientists who have left Germany,” he said, adding that better conditions must be created so they return.
“We're obviously not so attractive when it comes to bureaucratic processing and net income,” he said.
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