Germany must remove hurdles for foreign skilled workers, says minister
Germany has to make it easier to attract skilled workers from abroad to address the country's worker shortage, says the Economy and Climate Minister Robert Habeck.
Habeck, of the Green party, slammed the difficult German bureaucracy and requirements that skilled workers from abroad face.
"The problem is that the hurdles are so high," Habeck told Germany's Funke-Mediengruppe newspapers at the weekend. "Degrees are not recognised, applications have to be processed by embassies."
He added that it was not enough to "simply invite" skilled workers to Germany. "Otherwise, they will stand in the rain in front of Frankfurt airport and get nowhere," he said. "We have to build a lot of infrastructure to organise this."
Habeck said IT professionals don't have major problems getting to Germany, but it wasn't an easy process for other skilled workers.
"It is a matter of easing the immigration requirements for others as well - especially those with professional qualifications," Vice Chancellor Habeck said.
"In Germany, we must also take care of this, and make the necessary resources available for this. And we have to change the legal requirements so that immigrants can get easier access to the German labour market."
Germany is desperate to fill several vacancies, including for nursers, IT specialists, scientists, doctors and engineers. There is also a shortage of cooks, metallurgy workers and builders.
"In autumn 2021, there was a shortage of 390,000 skilled workers," said Habeck. "Without political measures, there will be a shortage of about half a million workers by the end of the legislative period."
The previous government, made up of a coalition between the conservatives (CDU/CSU and SPD), launched a new law aimed at making it easier for skilled workers to come to Germany, but many have said it is not enough.
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Germany's Central Foreign and Specialist Placement Office helped 3,200 skilled workers from abroad gain a foothold in the German labour market last year - 700 more than in 2020. However, politicians say that is still too low.
The new traffic light coalition - made up of the SPD, Greens and FDP - have said they want a huge overhaul of immigration policies in Germany.
Habeck wants to actively court skilled workers in a new initiative. He has recorded a video "aimed at skilled workers all over the world" which will be launched on the German site aimed at foreign workers called - Make it in Germany.
"We are launching an appeal to come to Germany," said Habeck.
"Above all, we need an overall show of strength: through a better reconciliation of family and work, through further education and training and, of course, through immigration."
Skilled workers - (die) Fachkräfte
Remove hurdles - Hürden abbauen
Immigration requirements - (die) Zuwanderungsvoraussetzungen
Gain a foothold - festen fuß fassen
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