Germany ‘needs 400,000 immigrants every year’ to fill jobs

Germany 'needs 400,000 immigrants every year' to fill jobs
Germany is desperate for more workers. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Uwe Anspach
The head of Germany's federal Employment Agency has issued an urgent appeal to the government to allow significantly more immigrants with sought-after skills into the country.

“Germany is running out of skilled workers,” Detlef Scheele, chairman of the Federal Employment Agency told the Süddeutsche Zeitung in an interview published Monday.

Due to demographic developments, the number of potential employees of working age is already decreasing by almost 150,000 this year, he said.

“In the next few years, it will be much more dramatic,” Scheele stressed.

Demographic trends are more critical than the transformation of the economy, he said. “I don’t understand why nobody is talking about this,” Scheele added. 

Germany can only solve the problem, he said, by training up unskilled workers, allowing women employees with part-time jobs to work more hours – and, above all, by bringing immigrants into the country.

READ ALSO: Germany needs 500,000 new immigrants every year, says politician

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That’s what the Germany’s new government needs to tackle, said Scheele, with an eye on the federal election coming up on September 26th.

“We need 400,000 immigrants a year. In other words, significantly more than in previous years,” said Scheele. “From nursing to air-conditioning technicians to logistics workers and academics: there will be a shortage of skilled workers everywhere.”

Scheele made the comments as Germany continues its evacuation of German nationals and refugees from Afghanistan after the Taliban swept into power.

“If refugees are making their way from Afghanistan, Germany should do its part to take them in,” Scheele stressed. However, he added that his focus was not on asylum seekers, “but with targeted immigration for the gaps in the labour market”.

According to the Federal Statistical Office, net immigration to Germany in 2020 was 209,000. Last year was also the first time in almost a decade that the population in Germany did not grow – likely because of the Covid pandemic that severely restricted travel. 

READ ALSO: Germany’s foreign population growth slows to ten-year low

In 2019, the government put together a law designed to make it easier for workers with vocational skills to migrate to Germany.

The Skilled Immigration Act came into force in March 2020 – the month of the country’s first national Covid-19 lockdown.

The aim of the law is to ease restrictions and red tape for qualified professionals when migrating to Germany through simplified visa applications.

READ ALSO: 10 things you need to know about Germany’s new law to attract skilled foreign workers


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  1. Making life easier for skill workers when they arrive, should also be a goal. I know so many people who came and left because couldn’t adapt to Germany. Of course, immigrants should make an effort, but also Germans could make life easier for us :).

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