Speaking at the presentation of her party programme in Berlin, Merkel said that the CDU, along with Bavarian sister party the CSU, would introduce a “skilled employee migration law.”
The Chancellor said that the goal of the law would be that “no job vacancy remains unfilled,” Spiegel reports.
A booming economy and an ageing population have put pressure on the German government to increase the levels of immigration into the country to fill the jobs that are no longer being filled.
A recent report found that one in two German firms see their business development threatened by a shortage of skilled workers, as they cannot find the employees they need in Germany.
“Germany needs a set of rules that controls immigration so that the needs of the economy are supplied,” the CDU/CSU programme, titled “For a Germany in which we live well and happily”, states.
The proposed legislation would bring together existing laws under one code and improve them where necessary, the party document adds.
To obtain a visa, immigrants would have to prove that they had already been offered a job, and that they could provide for their own living costs.
But Merkel rejected on Monday the idea that the new law could include a points system for potential immigrants based on the Canadian immigration model. Opponents including the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) have called for such a policy.
Germany brought in its first law on immigration in 2005. The legislation made it simpler for skilled non-EU workers to migrate to Germany, allowing them to stay longer and eradicating red tape in their applications.
Merkel also said that the new law would not impose an upper limit on the number of refugees who enter the country, a demand long made by Horst Seehofer, the leader of the CSU.
But the party programme did appear to contain a concession to Seehofer, using the word “limit” to describe the overall amount of immigration into Germany.
“With a smartly controlled and limited immigration policy for specialists, we will support the creation of jobs in Germany and dampen the attractiveness of illegal immigration,” the programme states.
Merkel further pledged on Monday that the refugee crisis of 2015, in which close to a million asylum seekers arrived in Germany within a 12-month period, would not be repeated.