Rösler told the online edition of news magazine Der Spiegel that attracting key workers was “one of the biggest challenges for the German economy.”
Rösler, leader of the pro-business Free Democrats, once again called for the introduction of a Canadian-style points system and dual citizenship to attract skilled immigrants from outside the European Union. Such a move has been rejected by the FDP’s coalition partners, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats (CDU).
The centre-right government meets Tuesday with representatives from German industry as well as immigrant groups in Berlin. They are discussing way of better integrating foreign-born workers into the country’s labour market.
Merkel made integration a key theme of her chancellorship in 2006. But critics say that her summits on the issue produce few tangible results and are merely symbolic in nature.
The opposition Greens have called for a change in the law to make it easier for children born to non-EU immigrants to obtain dual nationality. “A welcoming atmosphere would mean an easier path to citizenship, acceptance of people with more than one nationality and that we do away with the crazy compulsion to choose which passport they want,” said Claudia Roth, Green party co-leader.
Children born to foreign parents have until the age of 23 to decide whether they want German citizenship or that of their parents.
Last year, more than a million people moved to Germany – the highest figure since 1995. Many of those came from the crisis-hit countries of southern Europe – including Spain, Italy and Greece. Germany is home to some 16 million people with an immigrant background.