Tight job market exposes looming worker deficit

Germany’s tight labour market is slowly tumbling towards crisis, with a new study suggesting there will be 3.5 million unfilled jobs by 2025 and industry expecting around 70,000 training places to be empty this year.

Tight job market exposes looming worker deficit
Photo: DPA

Attempts are being made to encourage women to return to work after having children, and for older people to either stay in the workplace or return to it, and some hope is being put on attracting foreigners to come and work in Germany’s expanding economy.

But in a report published on Thursday, the Institute for Employment Research (IAB), the research institute of the Federal Employment Agency painted a horror scenario, saying that even if these measures work, and assuming a net influx of around 100,000 migrants, there would be a labour shortage of 3.5 million people by 2025.

“There is a need for a whole bundle of measures to cushion the effect of this massive reduction of potential workers,” the report concluded. “But even if it possible to attract more older people, women and foreigners to the workplace, the economy and society must be prepared for a much smaller population and potential worker pool.”

The coming lack of workers will not necessarily lead to a lasting unfulfilled demand for professionals – rather the capital and goods markets as well as the wages will adjust to the reduction in potential workers, the report suggested.

It also said that the standards of qualification among those people of a working age would likely increase – that an increased investment in education and training would be necessary.

The fact that many poorly-qualified people are out of work should prompt the education and training authorities to work in the long-term to help them improve their situation and get into work.

“Many measures which are being discussed in politics and academia in order to better use the potential labour supply are also highly valued socially. The appreciation of older people in society, the equal status of women and men (compatibility of family and career) and the integration of migrants are lofty aims which become even more important from the labour market perspective,” the report said.

Also on Thursday, Labour Minister Ursula von der Leyen said in an interview that she was still pushing for a European Union immigration scheme to encourage qualified professionals to come to the continent for work.

“We in the European Union must now together introduce the Bluecard, which regulates under which circumstances the engineer from Canada, the doctor from Israel or the IT specialist from India can come to us in Europe,” she told the Rheinische Post daily. “We must make it clear that the highly-qualified people of this world are welcome here with us.”

Germany must position itself well within the European Union, she added. “We make the rules clear with the Bluecard. We don’t want immigration into the social support system; rather we are seeking specifically professionals which we desperately need.”

The German Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK) also reported on Thursday that young people seeking training positions in industry had better chances – because the demand for them was increasing.

Businesses are adapting to the increasing need for trained labour and are offering their trainees contracts earlier than before, while less well-qualified candidates have better chances of getting a position, said Heinrich Driftmann, president of the IHK.

He said companies in eastern Germany were having particular difficulty finding young trainees, as the number of people finishing school had halved since 2005. And those young people who were available, were often not well educated enough even in the basics, he said in a statement.

“Companies cannot completely compensate for the mistakes of the parents and schools,” he said. “Around 20 percent of school leavers can according to Pisa [education tests] cannot read, write or count well enough.”

He said more than 50,000 training places remained unfilled among the members of his organisation, while the German Confederation of Skilled Crafts (ZDH) had reportedly recorded around 20,000 further unfilled training places.

The Local/hc

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What to do if you lose your residence permit in Germany

Third-country nationals with the right to live and work in Germany are generally issued a residence permit in their passport or in the form of an ID card. But what do you if you happen to lose this vital document - or if it gets stolen? Here's a step-by-step guide.

What to do if you lose your residence permit in Germany

Losing an important document can be a nightmare scenario for foreigners in Germany – especially if it’s the one you rely on to live and work in the country. So if you search for your residence permit one day and suddenly realise it’s missing, you may feel the urge to panic. 

Luckily, there’s a process to follow to get a replacement and ensure nobody else can misuse your residence permit in the meantime. This being Germany, it may take a little time, but rest assured you will be able to replace the document. 

Here’s what you need to know. 

Different types of permit

If you’re a non-EU national in Germany, you’re likely to have one of two documents proving your rights and status in the country: 

  • a residence permit that’s placed on a page in your passport (Zusatzblatt zum Aufenthaltstitel), or
  • an electronic ID, or eID, card (electronischer Aufenthaltstitel) for permanent residents. 

Some third-country nationals who’ve been in Germany for less than five years on a visa will have their residence permit in their passport, while others will have been issued an eID card. Permanent residents will generally have an eID card. 

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How to prove you’re a resident in Germany

Brits who lived in Germany before the Brexit cut-off date are likely to have a special type of electronic ID card known as an Aufenthaltstitel-GB. This looks pretty similar to a permanent residence card and basically signifies that the holder is entitled to the same rights as EU citizens living in Germany. 

You’ll need to do things slightly differently depending on which type of residence permit you have, so we’ll cover each in turn. 

In either case, if you suspect you’ve been a victim of theft, it’s a good idea to file a police report so they can be on the lookout for any potential fraud. 

What to do you if you lose your electronic ID card

1. Call the cancellation hotline 

If you’ve mislaid your eID card or it’s been stolen, the first thing to do is call up a national hotline on 01801 33 33 33 and put a block on the card.

To do this, you’ll need to have your Sperrkennwort (blocking passport) handy. The way you’ll have received this can differ from state to state, but usually it is sent out in a letter along with the PIN and PUK for your electronic ID card around the time that the eID was issued. 

This will block anyone from using your eID function. If you find your card again, you can unblock it by visiting the Ausländerbehörde. 

If you haven’t activated the eID function or happen to have mislaid your blocking password as well, then move straight to the second step below. 

READ ALSO: What is Germany’s electronic ID card and how do you use it?

2. Get in touch with the Ausländerbehörde (Foreigner’s Office)

Once you’ve put a block on your card, you’ll need to get in touch with the Ausländerbehörde to let them know what’s happened and arrange a replacement card.

You can do this via email or telephone but may also have to book an in-person appointment if they need to see certain documents for issuing the replacement. If you need to block the eID function and don’t have your Sperrkennwort, you’ll need to take your passport to the Ausländerbehörde to do this.

Bear in mind that you won’t get your new ID card straight away. Depending on the state, it can take a up to three months to be issued. You’ll also need to pay a fee for the replacement card, which can vary from state to state and is normally paid with cash or EC card at the Ausländerbehörde. 

Also, once an order for a new card has been sent off, you’ll no longer be able to reactivate your old card should you find it again. 

Ausländerbehörde Berlin

People go in and out of the Ausländerbehörde in Berlin. Photo: picture alliance / Kay Nietfeld/dpa | Kay Nietfeld

What to do if you lose your passport and visa 

1. Order a new passport 

It probably goes without saying, but if you lose your passport with your residence permit in it, the first thing you’ll need to do is get hold of a new passport. This should be done via the government of your home country. 

2. Book an appointment at the Ausländerbehörde

Once you’ve got your new passport, make an appointment at the Ausländerbehörde to get a replacement printed out. If you’re unsure what documentation to bring with you to the appointment, check on their website or send them an email beforehand.

Once again, you’ll need to pay a fee for the replacement, which is normally done on-site with cash or an EC card. 

What if I’m travelling out of the country soon? 

If you’re leaving Germany and don’t have time to get a replacement eID card or residence permit, contact the Ausländerbehörde straight away. They should be able to assist you with emergency proof of residence, which is normally done in the form of a Fiktionsbescheinigung (a certificate confirming your status and rights before the official proof has been issued).

Obviously, if you’ve lost your passport, your first port of call will be your home country’s embassy, who can normally issue emergency travel documents within a matter of days. 

For Brits covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, bringing other proof of residence in Germany such as your registration (Anmeldung) with you or a work contract should suffice to avoid getting a stamp in your passport when you re-enter. But even if you do, it won’t affect your rights.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that there are no hard borders in Schengen, so if you’re travelling around the EU, you’ll generally be fine without your visa. 

READ ALSO: Reader question: How can I re-enter Germany without my post-Brexit residence card?