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How Germany is set to make it easier for non-EU skilled workers to enter the labour market

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How Germany is set to make it easier for non-EU skilled workers to enter the labour market
Archive photo shows a skilled worker in Bremen. Photo: DPA

Germany is desperate to attract skilled workers from abroad and fill vacancies. Here's how the action plan is shaping up.


Germany is targeting a range of countries to attract skilled workers, Detlef Scheele, the head of the Federal Employment Agency (BA), said on Monday.

"The Federal Employment Agency will conclude further partner agreements on simplified labour migration to Germany with other countries, such as those we already have with the Philippines or Mexico," Scheele told DPA. The main focus at the moment is to fill vacancies in the care sector.

The government is looking to countries such as India, Vietnam and Brazil.

Earlier this year, Germany passed the Skilled Workers Immigration Act, which comes into force on March 1st, 2020. It aims to make it easier for skilled workers from non-EU countries to come to Germany.

The new package of laws, passed on June 7th this year, aims to attract foreign skilled vocational workers with German language skills, including those from outside the EU, and promises them eased visa procedures and reduced red tape.

READ ALSO: What Germany's new controversial immigration laws mean for foreigners

On Monday, a summit was held in Berlin to discuss how best to put the new legislation into practice.

Calls for a central unit and specialized staff to help up speed up the visa process will be discussed, as well as plans for German language training to be expanded to would-be workers in their countries of origin.

The government wants to attract qualified people from outside the EU – such as cooks, metal workers, nurses, builders and IT technicians – in a bid to address the shortage of skilled workers in many regions and industries across Germany.

"The law on the immigration of skilled workers must now be filled with life," said Scheele. "Structures must be set up so that the recognition of vocational qualifications acquired abroad functions smoothly," said Scheele. 

Germany's employment agency is set to set up a service centre to help facilitate this process.

"However, it is important to us not to take away the skilled workers from other countries, but to work together with them in a targeted manner," added Scheele.

READ ALSO: Explained: How Germany plans to fight its drastic shortage of care workers

Merkel calls for skilled workers

German Chancellor Angela Merkel weighed in on this topic in her weekly podcast. She said the worker shortage could drive companies out of Germany.

"We know that many sectors and businesses are looking for skilled workers," the Chancellor said. "Without sufficient skilled workers, a business location cannot be successful.

"That is why it is necessary for us to make every effort to recruit a sufficient number of specialists. Otherwise, companies will have to migrate – and, of course, we do not want that."

The shortage of skilled workers in Germany will become even more noticeable in the future, experts say, and that's why the planned measures to ease immigration are coming into force next year.

"At the same time, however, we must also make the best possible use of the domestic potential in order to secure skilled workers for the future," added Scheele of the employment agency.

He said work must be done with people who are long-term unemployed to get them into work.



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